Sunday, July 13, 2014

What if...

The last conversation I had with Cissy before I learned of her death was a brief text that lasted only a matter of minutes. What if I had actually picked up the phone and called her? What if I had driven over to her house? What if I had invited her to dinner? If I had done any of those things, would it have changed what happened less than 10 hours later? Would she still be alive right now? Or would things have played out exactly the same? I guess those questions will never be answered. I guess I'll always wonder what if. 

One thing that's not an unanswered question to me anymore is why does it take something like death to make us open our eyes to the things around us? Life! That's the answer. Life gets in the way of seeing the importance of life. We get so caught up in our own busy lives, that nothing else seems important anymore. Other people's problems become an inconvenience rather than something that brings us closer together. Relationships become more work than we think they're worth...until of course that person is gone and we start the 'what ifs' all over again. 

You meet people throughout your life. Some are there for a brief moment, some stay a while longer and some are there for a lifetime. It's really up to you where you want those people to be. Relationships take work. People change over time and those relationships either maintain through that change or fall through the cracks. These past two days have made me reflect on the relationships I have in my life. And every one of them needs work. I need to be a better wife, daughter, mother and friend. I hope this moment of sadness I feel for the loss of someone, who at one point in my life was my best friend, isn't something that just passes as the days go by. I hope this feeling of sadness motivates me to be a better person, not just for those around me but for myself. It sucks to think I could've done a better job of reaching out to someone instead of letting that moment slip away. Sometimes you can never get that relationship back. Don't miss that moment to be someone's friend or to rebuild a relationship that needs your attention. It may be the last chance you get....and then you won't be stuck wondering 'what if'.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Relax, rejoice, rejuvenate

I've never been the outdoorsy type...or at least I don't remember ever loving the outdoors. I've been told stories and shown pictures from my childhood proving to me that I used to love to go camping. But as an adult, it's not something that I've ever just wanted to make a weekend of. And I'm not saying that I do now, but I will say that after the weekend I had at Camp Mitchell on top of Petit Jean Mountain, I definitely have a greater appreciation for the beauty of the outdoors.
I drove up to Petit Jean on Friday to enjoy my weekend and relax, rejoice and rejuvenate...that was the theme for the first annual women's retreat for St. Peter's Episcopal Church. Being the introvert that I am and never showing up at a party or other event alone, I thought that I would be anxious on my drive up the mountain. But I actually felt quite the opposite. I felt calm and confident as I pulled into the driveway of the Canterbury Lodge. The beautiful sunset on the drive up may have helped put my mind at ease because I remember thinking that seeing the sunset from outside our lodge was what I was looking forward to most.
When I walked through the door, I was welcomed by so many friendly faces...all women of St. Peter's...some of whom I've come to know rather well and others with whom I had never met before that night. Thankfully, there was no uneasiness on my part. I felt right at home. Conversations just seem to flow so easily. The people we have met over the past year at St. Peter's have opened their hearts to our family with absolutely no judgment whatsoever.  It is so nice to be a part of a church where the members see my family as that...a family. I can talk about my wife and no one looks at me with a confused look on their face like I'm from another world. Before we started going to St. Peter's, we went to church on Sunday mornings, but there was no fellowship afterwards. No one knew our names or how old our kids were. No one knew where we worked or what we liked to do on the weekends. We were just another face in the crowd...a number to add to the growing population of their mega church. That's not the case at St. Peter's. Many of the members of the church are not just members of the church, they are our friends. We love it there, which makes the weekend I had on the mountain that much more enjoyable.
Campfire stories and lots of laughs!

Enjoying some s'mores.

I spent a lot of time out on this rock overlooking the beauty that God has created. Sometimes there were other people out there enjoying the view with me and other times, it was just me, God and nature. Watching the sunset on Saturday night was a great experience for me. I was able to enjoy the beauty of it amongst 2 ladies that I consider my friends. As they walked back inside, I decided to sit down and thank God for the wonderful weekend he had allowed me to enjoy, the beautiful sunset I had just experienced, the walk through nature I had gone on earlier that day, the conversations I had enjoyed with several women at the retreat, the great food and drinks and laughter, my family and friends at home...and just as I finished my prayer, I felt a few rain drops. As it started to rain, I just sat there for a few minutes and enjoyed one more of God's creations and I started to cry...not because I was sad, but because the joy of the whole experience was just so overwhelming.

I stole this picture,
but it's just too great not to share.


I stole this one too because I couldn't make
myself get out of bed in time to watch the sunrise.
On Sunday, after we enjoyed a very special Eucharist, had another delicious meal, and spent a little more time out on that rock enjoying great conversation, I spent my last few minutes alone on that rock, once again thanking God for the time he had allowed me to spend out there building relationships and marveling in all of the beautiful things I had never really taken the time to appreciate before. I feel certain that when spring rolls around, I will be enjoying the beauty of nature that I have for so long just ignored...I might even take a camping trip with the family and see if I can remember all of the things I used to love about that.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Oh how time flies

A year ago today our family was blessed with the most beautiful 5 pound 5 ounce little girl ever put on this earth. She was the perfect addition to our family.

The time certainly goes by quickly. It seems like just yesterday we were bringing Julian home from the hospital and putting her in her crib for the very first time. Little did we know that in her first year of life she would only sleep one full night in that crib. She has no desire to be in her own bed and apparently me and Sarah are pushovers because we just continue to let her sleep in ours. Oh we try to put her in her own bed. But that normally doesn't last more than an hour. It can be frustrating at times but Sarah reminds me that she's only this little once and one day I'll miss that.

Julian's walking all over the place and has been for months now. She has developed quite the clue where she gets that from. She's saying momma all the time and mommy on occasion. She calls Jaylee Jay Jay and says all kinds of gibberish that I wish we could understand. She copies just about every movement we make and she loves to dance. She has the biggest personality already and she's only one.

Julian's not the only one growing up too fast. Jaylee has become quite the little grown up these days. She started 6th grade this year and is becoming a little woman. Sarah and I had hoped this would be the year that Jaylee really started showing some responsibility and we got our wish. Jaylee is such a good kid. She sets her alarm every morning and is ready to walk out the door each day before I am. She comes home from school every day and immediately does her homework. She packs her own lunch and lays out her own clothes each night before bed. She's in dance...taking 5 different styles and loving all of them. She's the best big sister ever! She loves Julian so much and is a huge help with her. We really have been blessed with two amazing daughters.

I have so much to be grateful for. I thank God every day for the life that He has blessed me with.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Some things never change

Four years ago today, my life changed forever. I made a gutsy move and sent flowers to a girl I had just recently started dating. You see, Christy and I had been friends for 6 years. But on that day our relationship was taken to another level. We spent the next several months driving back and forth between Fayetteville and Conway further developing our relationship. It didn't take either of us very long to figure out that we had found the one we wanted to spend the rest of our life with.  Jaylee and I packed up and moved to Conway that summer.

Looking back now, it seems like that was such a long time ago. So much has changed in the last four years. Jaylee is now 10, going on 18. She's a wonderful daughter and excellent big sister. She's grown physically, emotionally, and spiritually over the past four years. She makes me proud to call her my daughter every single day. Speaking of sister, that's obviously another thing that has changed. We welcomed a beautiful baby girl into this world on September 20th, 2011. She is absolutely adorable in every way. We are so blessed to have her in our lives. 

A lot of things have changed in the past four years, but one thing remains the same. Christy and I love each other today the same, if not more than we did four years ago. We're able to communicate and share our daily struggles with one another. Our lives our crazy busy, but we always seem to find the time to spend alone with each other. And when we do, we still have things to laugh and talk about after all these years. We still enjoy each other's company. Christy is my best friend and I'm proud to say that in less than 6 short weeks, I'll be able to call her my wife. 

We are traveling to Massachusetts to legally be married at the Rookwood Inn in Lenox. We will be spending the week in Bentley Brooke snow skiing and then will travel to Lenox on the 23rd to officially make her my bride. We have the once in a life time chance to spend our honeymoon in New York City before traveling back to Arkansas. 

It's sad that we have to travel so far away to get legally married. And it's unfortunate that most of our family and friends don't get to be a part of our big day. But our daughters will be there to witness and participate in the ceremony. I'm so glad we get to share this moment with them. I look forward to that day and each day I get to spend with my family for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

It's been a long time.

A lot has changed since my last blog. We have a new addition to the family. Julian Elizabeth Garrett-Jones was born at 4:10 p.m. on Tuesday September 20th. She weighed 5 pounds 5 ounces and was 17 and 1/4 inches long. She wasn't scheduled to be in this world until the end of October but my body apparently couldn't take it anymore. I made several visits to labor and delivery because my blood pressure was out of control. I was initially put on half days at work and then on bed rest before the doctor decided it was time for us to meet Julian. We are all so glad that she is finally here.

Little miss had surgery just 7 weeks into her little life. She was born with a solid mass tumor in front of her sacrum. That was a scary experience for all of us! ACH is a great hospital with very talented surgeons. But just knowing that they were going to sedate my poor little angel and cut into her was just horrific for me. Thank God we have so many wonderful people who prayed for us and God reminded us that miracles do happen. By the time the surgeons went in to remove the tumor, God had already taken care of it. The surgeon was so confused because what he saw in the MRI wasn't there when he went to do the surgery. He removed a tumor but it was so much smaller than what was seen on the MRI. We go for a follow-up MRI at the end of this month because apparently the surgeons don't believe in miracles.

Julian was 4 months old on January 20th. Time is going by too quickly for me. She's wants so badly to get up and walk around. She's so independent already! She has so much to say but just can't find the right words just yet. But she is definitely a chatterbox...and such a happy baby! She laughs and smiles and makes everyone around her do the same. We certainly were blessed with a beautiful, happy baby girl! She has definitely found her voice. Her new thing is fighting sleep and she has a serious high pitched squeal when she's trying to stay awake. It's quite comical. She's not a huge fan of tummy time, but she rolled over tonight on her own. She only did it once and refused to do it anymore after that. So we'll keep working on it.

Jaylee is such a great big sis! She's so good with Julian and helps out anytime we need her to without complaining about it. I'm sure a that will change in years to come. I'm sure as Jaylee gets into her teenage years, Julian will become her annoying little sister. But for now they're enjoying each other and I love it.

Sarah and I are as busy as ever but really don't mind it too much. I don't think we would know what to do if we weren't constantly on the go. It is nice that my mom gives us a break pretty much anytime we need her to. It's nice to be able to spend time without the kiddos sometimes. And I love that when we do have date nights we still enjoy each other's company as much as we did when we first started dating. Our 4 year anniversary is coming up soon. I think we might do something really special!

I love my life and I thank God every day for blessing me so abundantly!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Oh the joys of pregnancy!

All this time I've been bragging about how easy my pregnancy has been. I haven't had any morning sickness. I've been able to eat whatever I want and it doesn't bother me. I haven't had any heartburn or indigestion. Everything has been easy breezy. Well I'm eating those words now. A lot has changed since my last post. The obvious has happened...I've gotten much larger, at least my belly has. Luckily I haven't ballooned out all over the place. But I probably should watch what I say there too because I still have 10 weeks to go. And at the rate I'm eating, I could gain another person between now and then.

Over the past month, I've realized how precious a good night's rest really is. It's quite difficult to get comfortable when you have a basketball inside your belly. Just rolling over becomes a task. The headboard has been quite handy...I use it to hoist myself out of bed each morning. :-) My feet swell on a regular basis, whether I'm on them or not. I come home every day and sit on the couch for about an hour so that I don't look like Gwyneth Paltrow in Shallow Hal. And apparently all this extra weight has taken quite a toll on this 35 year old body. For a week, I was unable to move without being in the most unbearable pain I've ever dealt with. Little Miss Julian and all the extra weight that's come along with her has pushed my sacrum out of place which causes rather excruciating pain. I had the pleasure of using a walker for about a week, which sounds pretty crappy. But it's better than being dragged down the hall on a blanket by your girlfriend and daughter...which is how I got around for the first night of that wonderful experience.

Luckily, I was able to get in to see a physical therapist who has done wonders for my shifting sacrum. I am seeing her twice a week and my body is feeling so much better. She showed Sarah how to push me back into place, which she's had to do several times. And because of that and some hydrocodone and Tylenol 3, I was able to go on family vacation and actually enjoy it. So all in all, things are looking up. :-)

We are now seeing the doctor every 2 weeks, which makes Julian's arrival that much closer! Her room is almost done and it looks sooooooo good! Sarah really outdid herself creatively on this one. I don't think either of us knew she had it in her. I can't take any credit for how great the room looks because I don't have a creative bone in my body. But Julian is going to have an awesome room when it's all said and done.

We are all getting more and more excited about the arrival of this beautiful bundle of joy. She is growing so big and is extremely active! I hope her sleep schedule when she gets here is better than it is now. Because she doesn't sleep much at all. She is constantly flipping around and kicking and's a little painful sometimes. :-) I find myself walking around with my hand on my belly constantly and it's because she's always moving around. I can't wait to see her sweet face! Until then, here's a sneak peek.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Making new memories

Last week was a week full of memories for me to store in the back of my mind. The week started off with us finding out if we would be blessed with a boy or a girl. And to mine and Sarah's surprise, we will be welcoming Julian Elizabeth into this world on October 23rd...or at least that's the date right now. This whole time I've been pregnant, we've just known it was going to be a boy. All of our blogs and comments reference 'him' or 'he'. But boy were we wrong. God is giving us a baby girl to add to the estrogen in this house. I feel extremely sorry for Spike, our teacup Yorkie. He's the only male in this house. Poor guy is going to have to deal with me, Sarah, Jaylee and Julian as well as Nina and Bella, the other two dogs in the house. Poor Spike doesn't stand a chance.

Jaylee can't wait for Julian to arrive. She is so excited that she's going to have a baby sister. She got to come with us to the doctor's appointment last week and got to see Julian moving all around in my belly and she got to hear her little heartbeat. When the tech told us we were having a girl, Jaylee's immediate response was "I got my wish". Not only did Jaylee get to come with us that day, but Ethan and my mom got to experience it too. Ethan was amazed! He just couldn't understand why we couldn't take the baby out that day. At one point, you could see Julian's hand on the tv screen and we told Ethan she was waving, so he waved back at her. :-) Man, I love that kid! It was good to have my mom there with us. We have always been close with one another and having her experience that with me and Sarah makes me smile.

Saturday night, Sarah took me out for my's not until this week, but she has to work on my birthday so we celebrated early. We started off the night by shopping for maternity clothes. And to my surprise, I actually found some things I like. At this point, I think they could be the ugliest things in the world, and I wouldn't long as I could sit comfortably and breathe. But luckily the jeans and shorts are cute and comfortable. I'm pretty excited about the dress I got. It's not a maternity dress, but it will be worn as one, and I'll still be able to wear it after I have that makes it an even better buy! We ended the night at my favorite place...Cantina Laredo. That place has the best salsa and spinach enchiladas I've ever eaten! I should've put my new pants on before we went in, but instead I walked out with my jeans unbuttoned. I couldn't help it, the food was just too good to leave any on my plate.

Sunday started off with us being able to feel Julian move for the first time. She started moving all around while I was getting ready for church and she kept on all through the service. Jaylee thought it was pretty cool. And I have to say, I thought it was too. I've been pushing all around on my stomach since then hoping to feel her move some more, but I guess that's all we're going to get for now.

After church we headed out to take family pictures. And even though it was 95 degrees outside and we were all sweating bullets, it was so much fun! Crystal was a trooper taking the pictures. She had 9 of us to deal with...taking pictures of the whole group, taking pictures of each individual family, taking 20 different single shots of Cessy so that she would have tons of Facebook profile pics to choose from...Crystal was laying on the ground trying to get every single shot we asked for. She's the best! I can't wait to see the pics. I know they're going to look great!

After pictures, we all headed back to my mom's house...much to my surprise to have cake and ice cream for my birthday and get more presents! I love my family! Sarah bought me a freakin awesome camera! I can't wait to use it on our Florida vacation. I probably won't be doing anything other than taking pictures since I'll be big and pregnant by that time. I'll get to use the Old Navy gift cards from my mom and my sister to buy more maternity clothes, so I can make it comfortably through the blazing hot summer. And I got an ice cold spit shower from Crystal. She thought the card my mom bought me was so funny she spit her ice water out as she laughed uncontrollably.

Oh the memories. :-)