Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

It's me again from my kitchen table. This time it's Thanksgiving Day, our first Thanksgiving together, ever. It is also the first time, ever, that I have not been with my family on this day. Thanksgiving is my mom's favorite holiday and although we didn't do exactly the same thing every year, it was always filled with happiness. One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories is how for probably about 5 years running, we would all congregate from wherever we happened to be at a Mexican Restaurant on the night before Thanksgiving. Each year was a little different because we were coming home from different places, bringing significant others, then wives, then babies. But each time there was a reunion, there was laughter and there was most certainly cheese dip. Nothing brought our family together like a 3 dollar burrito.

I remember Thanksgivings in Oklahoma, Thanksgivings when we worked outside, Thanksgivings when we painted the kitchen, when we picked up pecans, when we went on a cruise and ones where we just sat around the fire enjoying eachother's company. Although every year brought some new change, I came away with the same memory of the way I felt.

And I just realized today what made that feeling possible. My mom knew how to celebrate and make every holiday a party no matter what we were doing. You see, I'm not with my family, I'm in a small apartment and I even have to go to work tomorrow. But somehow I have the same Thanksgiving feeling in my heart. Why? I think it is because my mom taught me how to celebrate too. She taught me how to have a holiday. I didn't realize it until now, but I have been acting out the exact same things my mother would do but just in different ways.

This is a page I took from my mom:


You have to be around people you truly love and enjoy. Now, you can love someone and not enjoy them. But thankfully, Corey and I really enjoy each other's company and just have fun spending time together.


You have to do something that maybe you have never done before or just something that brings back sentimental memories. Whatever you do, the key is to make it a party. Even it isn't something that is inherently special, make it fun! Now, we didn't go eat Mexican last night. But I did make my first attempt at homemade pizza. The smell was good enough to knock your socks off and the pizza was pretty scrumptious for a first attempt. Add a caesar salad, a diet coke and snuggling up to watch a movie, and there you have our own Wednesday before Thanksgiving party.


You have to have a good smell. A smell that takes you back to good memories or just makes you feel good. Mine came in the form of cinnamon-smelling pine cones that I picked up at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Pile them up in a bowl in the middle of the table, and Voila, Thanksgiving for you nose. Sitting here, I feel like I'm 8 and smelling Jojo's cinnamon broom.

And finally,

Food. I just checked on my Apple Pie in the oven and felt a wash of joy. And the joy isn't just in the eating, it's in the making too. And making people happy by what you cook. Nothing feels more like a holiday than making special meals that fill your belly, maybe a little too much. I still can't think about eating from biscuits and gravy for breakfast.Throw in some good music to dance to while you're cooking and you can have a really good time!

I don't desire to spend every holiday away from the Greer Farm fireplace, but is sure feels good to know that I can and have a darn good time at that. Thank you, Mama.

Editor's Note: Exactly one day after the writing of this article, the author did shed a few tears because she missed her family. They dried quickly and she went on to enjoy the rest of her Thanksgiving weekend.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

From the Inside Out

"Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades,
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame,
And the cry of my heart is to give you praise,
From the inside out, Lord my soul cries out"

So, I am married. From where I sit at my kitchen table there are empty boxes piled high just waiting to be taken to the street, dishes in the sink piled even higher (Corey isn't surprised), a large wire rack filled with fun kitchen items, laundry in the washer, cookies on the counter, a set of golf clubs in the corner and a long list of thank you notes I need to write taunting me from the living room. But it is the weekend, and I'm putting everything aside to share a little thought with cyberspace.

Since the last post, an embarrassing 3 month ago, I have been through the whirlwind of last minute wedding planning, a wedding, a honeymoon and the acquisition of a new roommate. Just saying that makes me want to take a nap. While I can't wait to write about all of the festivities, it is usually the off-beat, random thoughts that really get me motivated to type. So here it goes.

Thank you is the buzz word of my life a the moment. The last few months for me, have been a season of thanksgiving. While I wasn't expecting that to be the theme of my wedding and new marriage, it certainly is. Probably out of pride or insecurity, I have lived my life feeling uncomfortable with people doing things for me. I don't want to be indebted to anyone or have them secretly resent that they gave to me more than I gave to them. I want to be in the black, debt free. But when you get married there is no way to every repay the generosity of your family and friends. Neither for their time, their money, their giving hearts, or their outpouring of love. I am indebted to them forever. Many people traveled from far away, some lost hours of sleep, some did much more cleaning and cooking than they ever wanted to, some threw georgous parties and had sweet words to say. That is just the tip of the iceberg.

Maybe in the past, I foolishly felt like I deserved some of the blessings God gave me and also the ones I would allow from other people. Now, under this waterfall of blessing I can't keep up and I can't give enough back. When I think about my wedding, or look at Corey, or remember my friends and family, I feel completely undeserving of the gift. What was hard for me to accept at first, is now the source of the deepest feeling of gratitude I have ever known. It has allowed me to worship and praise God in ways I have not before. It has allowed me to look at Corey in a new light and feel humbled that I have the love of such a man. I never knew that feeling so undeserving would bring so much joy. May I never feel entitled again, may I never try to stay debt-free for it is just an illusion, may I never lose the heart of praise that can only come from humility.

I was driving around town yesterday when a song came on by Hillsong called Inside Out. If you haven't already heard it, I encourage you to listen to it. Do you know the feeling when you hear a song that puts into words exactly how you feel? Well this song did that for me. Living in the moment of your joy knowing that there are so many more joys and sorrows to follow in your life, but stopping for second to thank the One who lives forever, who gave us our lives, provides us will good things, and holds everything in his grasp, ahhh peace. "Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades..."

Monday, August 3, 2009

This One's For The Ladies

I have been a neglectful little blogger recently due to the fact that....I'M GETTING MARRIED! Blogging is for the post-wedding Jackie who has no important life changing decisions to make like: hair-up, hair-down? To see before the wedding or not to see? 5:00 or 5:30? Will people dance or not dance? Everyone better dance!!

But I do have a little thought to put out there to the universe. It's about women. The week after I got engaged, I had the pleasure of going out to Oklahoma to visit my grandparents while my Alabama parents and Aunt were also in town. I didn't grow up with any sisters so I have always felt very attached to my mom's sisters. I remember following my mom around and around the house while she chatted with Cathy and Cheryl about mundane things, about funny things and sometimes about serious things. These hours of phone conversations gave me an example of what deep female relationships can do for a woman. They kept this up across the miles and over the years, only to all gather just a couple of times a year with hoops, hollars, laughing, and lots of love. They aren't perfect, but they are sisters.

It was into this atmosphere I arrived in Oklahoma, freshly engaged and on a mission. I needed a dress, and fast. There I was, right in the middle of the Skaggs women, just the right place to be to get the job done. With excitement and expectation we set out to the dress shop to see what we could find. Every dress was met with "Ohhs", "Ahhs", and sometimes "I don't think so's". We debated, we tried this veil and then that one. We tried this dress on and then again one more time and then once more. We sang it's praises and then voiced concerns, but I finally knew that it was the dress when I just didn't want to take it off. I'm so glad I found a dress. But what I really could jump up and down about is how greatly blessed I am to have such a circle of women in my family that will be so joyful with me in my joy, women that will surround me with love. That is what I felt like, like I was wrapped in a blanket of love. Thank you Mama, Mom Skaggs, Cathy, Cheryl and Micayla.

But this isn't the only example. From best friends to people I barely know, the news of my engagement brought squeals of joy, I'm serious, actual squeals. People at work often ask me for the latest in wedding plans and bring me little things like fake diamond ring key chains. I have been flattered by friends that have offered to throw showers, jump in and get their hands dirty with planning or just simply be there for me during this time. You know who you are. And all of this is not because of me, it's because of who women are. We stand by each other in joy. We squeal over weddings, we feel pregnant bellies, we gush over a newborn. We are also there for each other in times of pain. We cry together, we hash out our problems, we listen, and we care.

So, this post goes out to the ladies. We've got lots of issues as women, many can be attributed to hormones and men, but we are a darn good creation. We are strong, we are full of love, and we will be there for each other.

And to me, this is worth a million perfect dresses.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Natural Engagement

The news is out. The all-important Facebook status has changed. The package has been delivered, and has a new home on my finger. Corey and I are getting married. But can I still call him my boyfriend? Because after 2 years I was just getting used to that terminology and now I've got to change it to some strange French(?) word and somehow resist the urge to say "fiance" like Vernon T. Waldrip in Oh Brother Where Art Thou. But I digress.

Corey and I are gettin' married and I'm still pinching myself because I don't feel any different. Are you supposed to feel inherently different? I'm excited, I feel blessed, I'm full of love, and I have a conspicuous new addition to my hand, but different? I think not. But when I do think about it, natural is the word that come to mind.

And it was natural on Saturday when we were walking on the trail and looking at the beautiful waterfalls and just enjoying being together. It all happened when we were taking a break from hiking. We were just sitting on a rock near some flowing water and watching a stick. This stick was laying on the rock with the water rushing over it and looked like it was moving down hill. It went something like this:
J: "Corey, that stick looks like it's moving."
C: "Yeah it does."
J: "It just moves a little bit every once in a while."
C: "Wait, I don't really know if it's moving."
J: Still contemplating, Is the stick moving or is it not?
J: Mind wandering to some random thought, food more than likely.
C: Digging in backpack then getting on his knee.
C: "I love you, Will you marry me?"

And as naturally as that, we got engaged. I'm excited about the next few months where I can use all of the knowledge I have gained about weddings ever since I was tearing out pages of wedding magazines in 5th grade. But more than that, I'm excited to start a lifetime love affair, friendship, and partnership. I'm excited to have someone around that actually likes to do the dishes and doesn't tend to forget things like house keys after you already locked the door. And I'm excited to bring my depth of emotion and sawmill gravy making abilities to a marriage that will surely be very hard but by the grace of God, a blessing to us both.

Enjoy the pics!

The swanky steakhouse where we ate after we got engaged.

Monday, June 22, 2009


"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!"

I can't remember the last time I saw a firefly. I feel like they somehow disappeared from the South in recent years or I had just been too busy to notice them. I remember being fascinated by them as a child, mesmerized by the off-beat flashes that crowded the sky at dusk.

Tonight, after a long day of work I was drawn out of my somewhat stuffy house by a cool June breeze and the sounds of the birds and kids playing on the street. I walked down the hill to a little bench where I sit that is just a few feet from the woods. It looks out to a large grassy area that doesn't belong to anyone in particular but borders several houses and gardens. I go there in the evenings alone or with Corey to sit and enjoy the fresh air and smell the flowers and trees and earth. That sounds crazy but if you grow up with the smell of dirt and then you move to a place where that smell is not so easy to come by...believe me, you miss the smell of dirt. It is always refreshing but tonight was different. Tonight there were fireflies, everywhere. I imagined that it was the most spectacular fireworks show little ants had ever seen. I watched them, I watched them for a while and just soaked in the smells, the sounds and the little flickers of light--summer at its best.

When I woke up this morning, I didn't know I would end up being blessed by a firefly. I'm a believer. His mercies are new every morning, great is his faithfulness to me.