Saturday, October 11, 2014

Are You Kidding Me? Wedding Antics.

I beg of you...please, please, please do NOT subscribe to the behaviors that I am about to discuss!  I cannot contain this rant any longer! So much so that I am about to write a blog post when I have not done so in probably two years or more!  Whew.  Sometimes the human race is embarrassing.  Myself included for sure.  But if I ever do any of the following...beat me up.  Black and blue.  "Xrays needed" beating, please!

Having worked at an upscale wedding venue for over a year now, I have seen it all!  So I am about to give you a LIST of things you should NOT do or even THINK of doing at a wedding.

1.  Dress appropriately.  You are not going to Da Club.  Nobody wants to look at all the things you *should* have covered up before you walked out your door.  Especially once you start "wobbling" on the dance floor!

2.  If you cannot respect the Bride and Groom enough to leave your bluetooth at home, don't come. Recently, I observed one that was so big it looked like a Brittany Spears throwback mic.  You are not secret service and this is not the President's wedding.

3.  If you are a Maid of Honor or Best Man, do NOT...I repeat, DO NOT get so drunk that the Bride and Groom have to run around at the last minute to find someone to do their toasts because you are not capable.  Humiliating.

4.  If you are the Bride or Groom, do NOT get so drunk that you end the night with a fight that includes such statements as:  "You ruined my wedding"  "I knew this was a mistake"  "?*&@ you"
and the like.  Especially when half of your guests hear it and want to pick their gift back up and make good use of it themselves!

5.  If you are attending the wedding as a couple and you just cannot hold back on a very public argument,  save yourself the humiliation and go home before it escalates to that point.  Everyone is looking at you.  Everyone is embarrassed for you.  And the Bride and Groom are hoping they don't wind up like you.

6.  Don't spend the entire night texting, tweeting and posting on your cellphone.  Be present.  Nothing says "I love you" to the Bride and Groom than people who are engaged in everything that is happening.  Your phone will be there for you like a faithful friend when the night is over.

7.  Smile.  Don't act like it is killing you to go to a wedding.  This might save you from point #5 if you are there with a date.

8.  Don't try to bust up into the Bridal room or Groomsman's room to say "hey" before the ceremony.  You will get to see them soon enough!  Besides, you might disrupt a private moment between the Bride and Groom, the Mom and Bride, etc.

9.  Never, ever, ever start going from table to table sucking down all the half consumed alcohol drinks (that are not yours) just because the bar has stopped serving.  You look desperate.  And down right stupid.

I could go on and on.

Weddings are celebrations, so CELEBRATE!  But do it in a manner that is respectful and honors the Bride and Groom and their families.

Rant over until the next wedding.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I just want to buy applejuice

Since my return from Macedonia, I have been out of sorts.  But I should not be surprised by this.  I have done this many times.  I have traveled to many countries on mission only to return home very discontent.  Surrounded by all the things that should make me content, I am very discontented.  

You know what I mean, right?  You have heard this before, right?  I am not the only person that when faced with injustice and grave poverty, finds life back home DIFFICULT.

Some say, "but Jackie, we have poverty and injustice here" home.  And yes, I would agree.  Fully agree.  But can I put a few things in perspective for you?  Actually.  Let me tell you a story.  A story of a young woman who happens to be a good friend of mine.  She has spent the last two years of her life living in a country that has a poverty level that we cannot imagine.  Even in our poorest of poor areas, we cannot imagine.  And culturally she was as about as far from home as any young female could be.  She lived in a city where women have no class.  They do not count.  Young female babies are disposable.  And I mean LITERALLY. (if your mind takes you to the worst thought imaginable, you are correct)  

Only men count.  

And my friend...she was happy.  She loved the people.  They became her family.  She worked hard to show the love of Jesus to everyone she met.  She taught English.  She played with children.  She loved on the women.  She spoke of faith and life.  She immersed herself in the life there. 

And then she came home.

I had the chance to sit down with her.  At Sweet Frogs to be exact.  Ironic.  A place where you can indulge in the sweetest of fare.  As much as you want.  Made anyway you want it.  You choose.  (ummm, I digress.....)

My first question to my friend was this:
"What is the hardest thing about being back"?

Her reply confused me. 
"I just want to buy applejuice."


And then she explains.  

Shortly after she had gotten home, she went to the grocery store.  She wanted some applejuice.  But she found herself standing on the juice isle completely overwhelmed.  There were so many to choose from! 100% juice.  Vitamin C added.  From Concentrate.  Fresh, never frozen.  Mott's, Muscleman's, Juicy Juice, Welch's, Treetop, Old Orchard.  Shelves and shelves of it.  Large.  Small.  Individual servings. You can even go get some already chilled for you.  Ready now.  Disposable.  

I just wanted some applejuice. 

Overabundance.  Disposable.  Sitting on shelves.  Easily acquired.  Easily taken (for granted).

It wrecked her.  It wrecks me.

These are the feelings and struggles I have when I come home.  And my friend had lived it for two years.  We have so much.  At our fingertips.  And it requires so little of us.  

Lift it off the shelf.  Purchase.  Consume.  Repeat.  

I struggle with other things as well.  I struggle to wrap my head around the "work" I do while I am away on one of these trips.  

Did my work count?
In a month, will anyone even know we were there?
What about a week?
Did I do all I could do to show the love of Christ?

I may not ever know.

But this is my hope for me:
-that I never take anything for granted. ever.
-that I live everyday THANKFUL that I know God and He knows me.
-that I remember but for the grace of God, I would be nothing. 
-that everyday and in every way, I see people and the world as God sees them.
-that God never EVER lets me forget the truths above.

And this is my hope for the Roma that we served:
-that for a few days, you experienced life without predjudice
-that for a week, your stomachs were full 
-that for a few hours, you forgot your burdens
-that for a priceless two days, you had your first vacation. ever. And you felt like a king!
-that you were pampered with face creams and nail polish and you felt beautiful.
-that you danced to some silly songs and felt carefree
-that as the man of the house, you could enjoy your family without worry of      where your next paycheck/meal/shelter was coming from

My prayer is this:
-that for a lifetime, you will know that there is a God who loves you
-that for eternity, you would know Jesus as your savior.
-that I will see you again.  In this lifetime.  Or in heaven.  Or both, please.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The House that Built Me

This month is a marker for me and my family.  We will sell the house that I have called home for 48 years.  It is the only home I have ever known.  My parents were raised in Powhatan, VA but moved to Culpeper after my Daddy graduated from the State Police Academy.  My sister, Jojuan, was the only child then.  Up until I was born, my family lived in several places.  All of these my sisters can recall.  Not me.  I moved into the home my parents built in 1963.  I was one.

The memories of this home are many.  Stacked upon each other like a decadent dessert, the memories are rich.  So rich.  So very, very rich.   

 I am having a hard time letting go.  This is very hard for me.  This house represents the last tangible thing I have of my parents.  The finality of it all is hitting me hard.  I don't know what to do with these emotions.  No more birthdays here.  No more Christmases celebrated here.
I am a tactile person.  I want to run my hands down the walls.  I want to feel the crayon marks on the back of the bedroom door that to this day, has my height recorded on it since I was small.  The last time I marked my height on same door?  2010.

My favorite pet is buried here.  I sleep better here than any other place on earth.  I feel peace here.

Is a house a home?  Or is it the people that make it so?  My head says it is just a structure.  My heart says otherwise.  Will I reconcile the two?

 Will anyone remember the Lawson Family that occupied this dwelling for 48 years?  Will the new owners find love, peace and contentment here? 

 Will children play in the yard?  Will they keep the grass mowed? My Daddy kept a nice yard. 
My Momma planted flowers.
10393--you have been good to me.  This is the house that built me.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Just Can't Do It

I really want to post about my life lately.  Really want to put into print my emotions.  At this juncture, I just can't do it.  Something about putting it into writing seems so concrete.  So final. 
I just can't do it. 
Maybe soon. 
Maybe not. 
Don't know.....and I guess that's ok.

I'll leave this instead:

I cannot read His future plans;

But this I know;

I have the smiling of His face

And all the refuge of His grace

While here below, while here below.

Enough! This covers all my wants!

And so I rest.

For what I cannot, He can see.

And in His care, I saved shall be.

Forever blest, forever blest.

--George Stebbins

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


This past Sunday, my pastor Brian Hughes, taught about money. Specifically about our money and living generously.



It is a hard subject both for him to teach (by his own admission) and for us to hear. It is NOT ours. We spend our money as if it is...but it is not. We would never dream of spending somone else's money recklessly or at all. Why don't we look at our own money that way? But we will throw ours away on foolish things when we are really throwing away GOD's money on such things.

Bigger this, bigger that. More of this, more of that. Designer this, designer that.

I know that today, in this economy, things are hard. Families are struggling. People are struggling to make ends meet. Maybe we are not quite as reckless as we have been in the past. But are we still spending on temporal things? or Kingdom things?

I guess it really boils down to faith and trust. That is what is really about. Faith that God means EVERYTHING He says in the bible, not just parts of it. If we believe some of it, we really must believe all of it.

I am reminded of the passage in Matthew 6:26:

"26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

OR this one:

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." Malachi 3:10

Today I am challenged. Hope you are too.

2 Samuel 24:24

" I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing.”

Monday, May 10, 2010

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea:
A great High Priest, whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on his hands,
My name is written on his heart;
I know that while in heaven he stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see him there
Who made an end of all my sin.

Because a sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Praise the One,
Risen Son of God!

Behold him there, the risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace!

One in himself, I cannot die
My soul is purchased by his blood
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Savior and my God
With Christ, my Savior and my God

(Before the Throne of God)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How many times can a person claim bankruptcy?

It is hard for me to imagine that 2 years ago, I posted a blog entry about my Daddy's failing health. In light of where my Daddy's health is right now, I really am in emotional bankruptcy again.
But once again, my friends and my God continue to "deposit" in me a sense of peace and strength for the day.

I am publishing my other "Daddy" post here again so I can be reminded of his faithfulness both then and now.

p.s The one picture is of my father when he graduated from the State Police Academy (He looks too nice and handsome to write anyone a ticket). And the other picture I took of him 2 years ago when I first wrote of his health issues.

Emotional Bankruptcy

It is very distressing when people you love are struggling. For me, it is much harder to watch my family members struggle than when I am in a struggle myself. I would much rather be the one that is suffering. I am a people pleaser by nature. I like to make other's load seem lighter. It is what I am wired to do. And when it is what you are wired to do and yet you cannot seem to fix it--it is very overwhelming.

My father has so many struggles. A heart condition, diabetes, lymphoma, a degenerated hip that cannot be fixed, some dementia and a new diagnosis of Alzheimers. His hip causes him so much pain that he has a implanted pain pump that delivers enough meds to knock over a large cow, I'm sure..and yet, he still has pain. He has to augment this pain pump with oral pain meds from time to time which only adds to his moods being altered.

My father's struggles dominate the life of my stepmom who is his caregiver. Her days are filled with caring for him and little time to herself. Most of the time she is up to the task. Some days, she just can't take it anymore. Recently, that has been the case. And as his children, we have been left with the panic and anxiety that goes along with sorting out the future. Many questions. Many concerns for both Daddy and Momma Mary.

I feel like I am plunging into emotional bankruptcy.

I watched my mother fight leukemia for 10 years as my father held the role of caregiver. I didn't think I would survive her death. I literally thought it would cost me my life, the inability to take my next breath without my Mom. Of course that is not the case, God gives live and breath. But it is how I felt. I was a young single Mom and very desperate at the thought of losing her. And now, I am here watching my Daddy struggle in the same way.

In it all, THANK YOU God for gently reminding me of these things:

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Josh. 1:9

"Blessed be GOD- he heard me praying. He proved He's on my side; I've thrown my lot in with Him Now I'm jumping for joy and shouting and singing my thanks to Him." Psalm 28:7 (Msg)

"Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." Neh. 8:10b

"I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121;1-2

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Phil. 4:6-7

Thank you God for making deposits into my soul through your Word and saving me from certain emotional bankruptcy.