Tuesday, October 21, 2014

It was just a box...

It was a simple resin box. He held it out with his pudgy fingers and the biggest grin on his face, but it was just a simple box. It has a cross on it…the crown of thorns and three nails. He handed it to me so carefully and just said “this is for you momma”. I of course made a big deal about the little box and thanked him for giving me such a sweet gift…but at that moment, it was still just a box.

 I sensed that he was proud of his little box, so I asked him if he bought it at the Sunday school store that morning. He said “yes, ma’am” and shyly looked down as he shoved his hands in his pockets and gave me his crocked grin. “Awh, Jess that is so sweet that you bought me something in the Sunday school store”, but it was still just a box. I held it so gently as I walked into the sanctuary…I could hear his little voice behind me as he was telling me about purchasing this box. I scanned over his head looking for the lady that I needed to talk to, all the while I could still hear him, but I wasn't really listening. I was in a hurry because I had to be in the nursery that Sunday. I found the lady I was looking for, told her what I needed to say and then she saw it. She saw my box.

She began to tell me the story behind the box. The story that soon gripped my heart, brought tears to my eyes, and made me love this sweet, tousle headed boy even more. He had walked into the store so excited this morning. He knew today was the day that he may finally have enough coins. He had been eyeing the box for over 3 months and knew he needed 50 coins to purchase it. Every store day he would find out how many he had, and then purpose in his heart that he was going to keep saving. That Sunday was different…he knew he probably had enough and he waited so anxiously for the teacher to count his coins. He even got nervous because the kid in line behind him was eyeballing his precious box. When she finished counting, she told him he had 56 coins. I can see him in my mind as he used all but six of his coins to purchase it. I am certain he was busting with excitement to give it to me.

 As she is telling me the story that morning, my eyes began to brim over. I think my breath was caught in my chest the entirety of our conversation. Who would do that for me? I was such a failure some days as a mom, but yet the love this little boy had for me overwhelmed me. Even when I fail, he still loves and values me as his momma. Even when I don’t measure up in the race of Pinterest mommy’s making the perfect school lunch, meals, projects and what not…this little boy thought I was the best in the world. I was humbled by his great love for me. As I looked up at the ladies standing around me, Jesse was still holding my hand and tears brimming on my eye lids, I saw the tears in their eyes too. Not because they were jealous…not because they wished they had a son like that. No. It was because they got it. They knew they were enough for their kids. They got that our kids love us no matter what we weigh, what we cook, or even if our house is clean. And now…it wasn't just a box.

This little box means so much more. My little man saw it and immediately thought of me. He worked diligently to save his coins so that he could purchase it for me. He was probably ready to choke hold the little boy behind him if he had tried to buy it out from under him. He had a goal, and it was to buy his momma this precious box. When I look at it now, I see dedication, patience, steadfastness, love, and adoration. It isn't just a box. Oh no, it means so much more. It’s a treasure and something I will hold dear to my heart the rest of my life.

 It’s so much more than just a box...

Friday, September 5, 2014

Paul Angel...

15 years seems like so long ago...but it seems like yesterday on a day like today.

 It wasn't a regular Sunday. I had started a job that summer at a nursing home, and as one of the Management leaders I had to work one Sunday a month. That morning I went by my grandparents (they were leaving early for a family reunion) to show my PaPa my new car I had just bought. I was so proud of it and him being my advisor and car enthusiast, I just had to go show him. He looked it over...sat in the front seat...ran his leathered hand over my steering wheel and told me I "had done good". We talked for a bit...sat on the front porch and shared a drink and then I was on my way. They even passed me on the road (he tended to drive a little fast) on the way to their reunion that morning and I just smiled and waved at PaPa and MaMa.

 I came home that afternoon from my shift to find my sister in law standing on the porch. Tears in her eyes...she said "It's Papa". She jumped in my car...the one he had just sat in, and we headed to the hospital. On the way there she filled me in on the details. They had gotten home from the reunion and he had sat on the couch to rest and watch the news. He was drinking sweet tea and asked my MaMa for a refill by shaking his cup of ice. She got it like she always did, but when she came back in the room, something was wrong. He was slumped over and not responding. My sweet little MaMa, who was in the earliest stages of Dementia) called 911 and then my brother. She sat outside on the porch waiting for them...she didn't know what to do. They got there and began working on him...Paul showed up and saw them working on him as they loaded him in the ambulance...but Paul knew. Knew he was gone...knew that we would never hear his velvet voice again.

 We all got to the hospital and were in the family room when the doctor came in. He had to give us the news that we all dreaded to here. There was nothing they could do. He had suffered a massive heart attack and was gone almost immediately. We grieved...oh we grieved hard that day. One of those gut wrenching, wailing cries that takes your body over. I took my tiny grandmother in my arms and promised her that we would never leave her and would take care of her. I told her that she was a good wife to him...the best.

 We went to see him one last time in the E.R. MaMa stood silently by him, rubbing his head and holding his hand. She gently leaned down and kissed his face and whispered over and over..."I love you Paul Angel". We got some of his personal belongings...MaMa put his gold wedding band on her necklace and we left. Empty...lost...broken.

 This man that had been our pillar of strength, our faithful leader, our Godly example was gone. We knew that when he died it would be hard...we just weren't expecting it so soon. We weren't prepared...he still had veggies growing in the garden...great grand babies to love on...birds that still needed to be fed...and my MaMa who needed him to take care of her.

 My PaPa was special. He loved Jesus y'all...I mean loved Him. He loved the word of God and I loved sitting and reading through his bible and the verses he had underlined...notes he had written. He loved my MaMa...his Chris. She had been slowly losing her self over the past years and his patience with her...his love for her was a perfect picture of marriage. He loved his family fiercely. He loved his country and proudly served in the Navy! He loved the church. He loved gardening and taking care of wounded animals and wildlife. He had even tamed a squirrel that he called Buddy...he would eat right out of PaPa's hand. He loved to walk on the beach and would search for hours for shells and shark teeth.  I remember walking with him on those early morning walks...we didn't talk much, but we didn't need to.  He was special.

I miss him today.  Some days memories hit me and I laugh...sometimes I cry.  His memory lives on through his 9 grandchildren and  27 great grand children.  I tell my kids about him.  About things he did...what he loved...how funny he was.  He left a legacy...one that will never be forgot.  It's hard to imagine that he has been gone for 15 years...but man am I grateful for the 24 years I had with him.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


14 years ago today I said " I Do" to a man I barely knew. No, we didn't elope...didn't have an arranged marriage...I just hardly knew him. You see, when Ric and I met, we went on three dates and knew that we loved each other...knew that we would be married...and knew that forever had each other in it. We just didn't know each other. Yes, I knew that he was Godly, funny, caring, hot....oh, the list could go on. But seriously, how do you know someone in three dates. God had brought us together in His perfect timing, and we just knew...quickly! It was a whirlwind to say the least. I had finally found the man that I loved. The man that I had guarded my heart for. The man I had fervently prayed for.

We got engaged just five weeks after meeting. Some think that's a tad crazy, but what's crazy is that I would have said yes on our third date (ok, second but that sounds real crazy, so I'll keep it at third)! It was the sweetest, most thought out proposal ever. He thought out each detail and had my family involved in everything.  I remember being just giddy when he asked me...and when I heard him say "I love you" I lost it. Those were words he saved just for me...words he had never uttered to another woman (other than his momma and sisters).

Just two short months after we got engaged, Ric had to move to Georgia to start his job as a youth pastor. We were apart from May until we wed in September. We saw one another occasionally but really got to know each other, as best we could, over the phone. Ric hates...HATES...talking on the phone. Needless to say, we didn't really know each other. We didn't have cell phones, Facetime, Facebook...nope, just the good old telephone.

 Our wedding day was perfect.  Every detail was just as I had wanted it...but what I remember most is standing there on our wedding day and repeating the words that Ruth told Naomi in the Old Testament, "Where you go, I will go. Where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people will be my people. Your God, will be my God." I had no idea how important those words would become over the next years.  But that day, I remember feeling more love for that man than I had ever even imagined could be humanly possible...but I still didn't really know him.

 Little did I know that over the next years that we would have four children, go through great times, mourn over loved ones who had died, weep over teenagers that had gone astray, pray for our sick children with uncertainty, move three times, drive... a lot, go through really hard times, laugh like we do, break 6 cell phones and iPad's (Ric) and lose 5 drivers licence's and debit cards(me), stay at the same church...oh the list could seriously go on people.

I  knew that the man that I married would be my closest friend, the one I laugh with about everything, cry with about everything, and love, but I had no idea that I would love him more today than I did the day I stood beside him as we got married. It's a crazy love I tell ya. I can't imagine my life without him. I don't just love him...I like him. Y'all know we are Baptist folk, and one of the quintessential lines of baptist talk is "I have to love you, but I don't have to like you". Well that line doesn't pertain to my relationship with Ric...I love him, and I like him. I like the way he laughs, the stupid things he says, the way he loves football, the way he rubs my foot (every night...don't hate ladies), the way he loves Christ. I like him (except when he eats standing up...now that drives me crazy...just sit down), I really do!!

You see, I do love Ric Blazi....more today than I did yesterday. I have seen him become a father, four times over. He is such a good dad, especially in the stage we are at in parenting. This stage is harder...by far harder than having babies and toddlers...and he is in his element at this stage. I have seen him grow in his ministry and begin to preach like a seasoned pastor. He is pouring into our teens and church like I have never seen before. He teaches them truth, how to defend that truth, and why they should love the truth. I have seen him love his children and teach them about God and His unbelievable grace. I have seen him go through struggles and come out stronger. I have seen him pray over one of our kids, with tears in his eyes. Yes, I love him more today than I did 14 years ago. I have seen him make mistakes...and sometimes learn from them.

14 years ago I married this handsome man with the darkest brown eyes . I could look in those eyes and know that I was safe...that I was loved...and that he would be faithful to me....until death parts us. 14 years ago, I knew all of that, but I have lived it now...and that my friends, is what makes me truly know who Ric Blazi is. He is a man of his word, a man of faith, conviction, and a man that stands for truth. He is faithful, kind, generous, and most of all he loves me. And after 14 years, I truly know him...and I love him even more because of that! Happy 14 Years...I love ya Rex...

14 Things I have learned in the last 14 years:

1.  Your wedding day is awesome, but it's what comes after that means the most.

2.  Saving our first kiss for our wedding day was the best thing we did...crazy hard, but boy was it worth the wait.

3.  Georgia football only lasts about half the year and Georgia football games trump anything…even babies being born (although we got married on the same day that Georgia played Georgia Southern…all the while several family members may have had ear buds in listening to the game during said wedding…I still get grief for that one)

4.  Having 4 kids is crazy...but it's our kind of crazy and I love it!!

5.  That I would rather drive closer to the white line than the yellow one...and it drives him nuts.

6.  Looks fail...trust me (my looks of course, not his...he has some eternal youth serum he drinks every night...I swear)...

7.  Love and commitment don't...

8.  Marriage is fun...go on dates...get away by yourselves...it's important.

9.  Frozen Yogurt should always be included in above dates...

10.  Pets drive my husband crazy...but our kids love them.  Cute pups and kids trump his vote...sorry babe! You get Georgia football...

11.  That paint thinner will not cause blindness…even when you are pregnant and shouldn't be painting!

12.   That men truly have the secret…about mowing the lawn. I may have to explain that one day soon but yes men, I know you're secret and I will expose your secret to your wives….y'all are so tricky!!

13.  That everything that happens is NOT a life or death situation…although I do forget this truth…daily!  I have perfected the "gasp" for every situation in life...drink spilling and kid cutting his hand open...same difference. 

14.  That God is faithful and good and His kindness toward me astounds me.  He gave me a good man, and I am a blessed woman indeed.  God is good, all the time!!! 

Happy 14...you are the best and I love ya!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Double 1's...

11 years ago today I met my sweet Addie Mae.  She was tiny and had the most delicate features.  Her skin was such a perfect olive shade and she had the darkest hair and brown eyes that were as deep as the ocean. She was perfect.  I held her for the first time and knew I'd forever be changed. 

As Addie got older her personality really began to come out. She was super mischievous, loved to laugh, loved making messes, and was a true friend. 
She was a tad on the shy side, but once you got to know her she was your forever friend.  She needed to always feel safe and secure and to this day she is the same way.

Addie is becoming such a special young lady. She has a deep desire to be shaped and molded by God. She is attentive and soaks in every word she hears. I love sitting next to her in church and watching her as she takes notes.  She is thorough and very intentional. I love that about this sweet girl. 

Yesterday I went to get her a new shirt for her birthday.  I walked around the children's section and nothing stood out. I decided to go to my favorite boutique and see if anything there might fit her tiny frame.  As I shopped one of the gals working asked me about her.  I began to talk about Addie and what a neat kid  she is.  How she is a magnet for little kids...how loyal she is as a friend...how gentle she is with people. I purchased her shirt and got in the van and it sunk in...that little brown haired baby with eyes as deep as the ocean was growing up. She is maturing, and while it scares the crud out of me...I am excited to see the next steps for her.  I am proud of Addie...and man am I grateful to be her Mom!!

Today Ric and  I took cake and lunch up to her class and before I cut the cake I asked her if I could take her picture with the cake.  She looked at her daddy and rolled her eyes and said "really mom, we are gonna be one of those weird families?? I laughed so hard...but yeah, I'm gonna be one of those weird moms because I want to remember ever moment of the time I have the privilege of being your momma.  Your a gift sweet girl.  Happy double 1's Addie Boo!! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Jesse is finally on two hands...


I blinked...and my sweet baby boy is now on two hands. Last night he was still on one...but today...oh today, he woke up on two. He thinks he is hot stuff (which he is) and is super excited to finally be SIX!!! I'm not sure why this is a hard year for momma's, but it is. It's like a right of passage into big boy land...going from one hand to two. This morning he asked if I was sad he was now six. I said no, but then quickly followed it by saying "yes, I am...you are growing up way to fast."

It seems just like yesterday that I was holding him in the hospital. That I was looking at his head full of hair...guessing who he was going to look like...and kissing those fat cheeks!! He took my breath away when I first held him close to my heart. I remember his sweet baby smells...the way he smiled in his sleep....not that he did much of that...the sleeping that is. I (in my own mind, because who admits those things out loud) had dubbed myself Traci Hogg's right hand woman..."the baby whisperer". We (and I mean we...my hubby rocks) sleep trained all of our kids by 9 weeks old and we could have written a book...if it hadn't already been written by Traci!!! But Jesse....oh but Jesse. He broke that book in two and ripped every page out. He never slept....NEVER!! It was an exhausting...but joyful first year of his little life.

 He has been full force ever since and we laugh at him everyday. He has the sweetest hugs...and never wants to let you go.  The other day he asked me if we would still be able to hug in heaven because he can't go without hugging me.  I could seriously feel my heart melting.  Jesse has become more spiritually minded in the last year and asks lots of deep questions.  He has such a sweet spirit and just loves people so genuinely.  Today we took him lunch and ate with him in the library and afterwards he was heading down the hall and just as I was turning the corner I heard his little voice say "Bye Momma" and I looked and he stood there waving frantically!!  Last year his teacher had to pull him off of me so I could leave...I can't help it...he just loves his family!!!

He has been a blessing everyday!! He can make me laugh, make me cry, and every emotion in between!! He is such a neat kid...loves life, snuggles, superheroes, coloring, his friends, our pets...hates school, any veggie, and brushing his hair!  He wrote a paper in school several months ago that simply said "I hate school.  My teacher is bossy."  Take that for honesty!!

What a sweet boy my Jesse is and I just know that God is going to use him in ways that I can't even fathom. I pray that he sells out for Jesus and lives dangerously for Him...that he will love the Word...love people...and always love his Momma!!! Jesse, you were the perfect ending for our little family of 6 and we all think you are pretty special!!

Happy 6th Birthday little man...may this be your best year EVER!!!!