24 August 2010

It's only a thing

Sorry to have been away again for a bit.  The latest thing to go wrong in my life is the computer.  It has been having reliability issues for several months and is now on it's last legs.  The long lived, and overworked dear is going on strike and I can only get it to turn on sporadically.  I will be learning how to post via text message.

I was sharing my computer woes with a friend when she remarked "Things keep falling apart around you."  I chuckled and told her it made sense, after all I seem to be falling apart lately.  I was thinking of the last time I had a computer to die. I remember how much I missed it and had to work on my attitude to accept the disappointment.  I can't believe I was so disturbed by the loss of a thing!  I am so grateful God has worked in my life to help me see what is important.  I know He is the reason I have learned to remember to keep my focus on the blessings of my life. I am not be able to do so on my own.   Otherwise, I would not have moments of forgetfulness when He reminds me to seek joy.  A heart that is bitter sees no gift. I pray my heart will always recall  how much I have been gifted.

Thankful for lessons learned and joy revealed,



11 August 2010

...and a little child will lead them

Saturday night found me with my three favorite little girls.  We gathered in the kitchen to cook dinner together and caught up on our time apart. After we had finished eating, the twins were playing with their Pokeman cards (Who knew they were still around?).  The oldest was helping me fold my laundry while telling me all about camp.  The evening escalated when a trade went bad and one sister demanded her cards back.  

After a mediation that would have made Kissinger proud, we had a long talk about having a generous spirit.  We took a moment to review the day to see how often someone had shown generosity to them.  All of the girls then began to offer ideas on how they could be generous to others.  They were grandiose and difficult to implement.  I listened until they came up empty and then suggested perhaps they could start with being generous in their own home.  I haven't heard yet how that plan has worked out, but am looking forward to the stories I am sure I will hear when we are together again.

Heading to bed a little later than I would have liked, the girls settled down for me to come and share nighttime prayers with each.  As would be expected each asked for God's help in their task.  Over the years, I have learned any surprises in prayer are most likely going to come from Julia.  This night was no exception.  She gets so excited talking to God, she stumbles over her words trying to get them out as fast as she can.  She took a moment's pause and then thanked God for "knowing what was in my heart even when I say something else." After hugs and kisses I told her I was glad she knew that God knew what was in her heart.  She said  "Even if you pray for something you think you might want, God knows what you really want and what you need."

I am always so blessed by my time with these girls, the love and joy we share never fails to be a balm for my soul.  I am doubly blessed to be able to have moments where I can see God's Kingdom as a little child does.  Being a part of their faith journey enriches my own, and I am thankful.

Looking forward all these sweet girls will continue to teach me,


06 August 2010

Someone shares my thoughts

When I read Ann Rice's statement about giving up on Christianity, my first thought was she was going to make her journey with Jesus a personal one and remove herself from the corporate body. It wasn't until I began reading various responses to her statement that I began to feel no one else took her statement the way I did.

Then one of my favorite blogs tackled the issue.  As I read his thoughts on her decision, I no longer felt alone.  He said what I felt but much better than I could have said it.

Check it out for yourself, it's well worth the read, but then it always is. 

"Provocative Christian Living"

Praying Anne finds her answer in her commitment to Christ,


05 August 2010

From Great Aunt Jené

Dear Jackson,

I have yet to hold you in my arms but you are already being held in my heart. I began praying for you at the moment I knew you were on the way.  The announcement of your coming was a wonderful highlight from your Great Grandparent's Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary.  You were the hit of the party!

I will not be able to see you as often as I like, for that would be every day.  But I will be keeping you in my prayers.  I pray for all my nieces and nephews daily.  I have not been gifted with children and each of you are a gift I cherish all the more.  

My goal is to be the aunt everyone feels comfortable coming to with joys and sorrows.  The aunt you know will always be in your corner.  The one you can count on when life blows up in you face and don't know which way to turn.  There is nothing, absolutely nothing, you can do to lose my love for you.  You are stuck with me for the rest of my life!

So as you grow up, when you need a friend, a confidant, a co-conspirator, or just someone to be silly with, remember your aunt jené.  I will be delighted to be the one you turn to.

I love you Jackson William Taylor, and I always will!


aunt jené

31 July 2010


Camp Nené  was a resounding success!  The sweet little girls came over the day before I had to go out of town and we had a blast.  We spent an hour wandering around the local Asian market.  They loved seeing everything and no corner of the store was overlooked.  We played games, watched movies, did gymnastics and stayed up late. The next day got started with Julia's favorite; popovers!  They were able to stay until after lunch where Meredith discovered pierogies.  They are now her favorite!

The day after found me up early to get to the airport for a flight.   I was so excited I never noticed someone stealing my cane in the airport.  An older couple sat next to me and when they got up to leave she grabbed my cane thinking it was hers.  After they had walked for a bit her husband asked her where she  had gotten the cane as she had left hers at home.  They were kind enough to turn it in to lost and found.  Meanwhile, the Southwest Airlines gate agent made a valiant effort to locate it for me.  When she found it was at lost and found, she told me how to get there. She'd said she'd make sure I did not miss my flight as it was loading at that point.  I was the last on the plane but thankfully I made it!  

The days in St. Louis were a happy blur of moments surrounding a wonderful wedding. I made use of city's rail system to make it out to the local Container Store.  Their general manager is a kind friend who used to work here.  It was such a treat to be able to give him a hug and hear all about his family.

That night at the rehearsal dinner I met many in the bride's family.  I sat with my aunts and the bride's aunt and family and the laughter never stopped.  It was so reassuring to discover Shonna's family was just as silly and fun as my own.  No wonder she felt right at home with us!

Proving that something always goes wrong at weddings, the poor best man was not as lucky with his air travel as I was.  He landed a day late and just half an hour before the wedding.  Thanks to the groom's cousin doing some exemplary fast driving he made it to the church and the wedding started just a few minutes late.

The wedding was fabulous and the reception gave lots of fun moments.  My favorite would have to be my nephew dancing with his mom to "Sesame Street!"  Even some difficulties after it was all over could not diminish the joy of the day.

Sunday I awoke with severe sinus and ear troubles.  I was not looking forward to getting on an airplane while that congested but had no regrets about making the trip for the wedding.  A rough flight home and having everything worsen the next day still had me thanking God I was able to be there. For me, it was worth any discomfort to spend time with loved ones.

Yesterday saw the arrival of my newest nephew.  As I am here and he is in Dallas, I am happy photos can be sent via mobile phones.  It makes me feel as if I haven't missed out on the event. Of course, the best time will be when I get to hold him myself, hopefully soon!

As things are winding down at the end of this long day, I am grateful that tomorrow is a day of rest.  I am looking forward to more time with family as my sister will be here.  This visit will not have the urgency that surrounds a wedding, so the time spent will be much calmer. 

Had already gone to bed tonight but couldn't seem to settle down so I thought I would catch up for the time I was gone. After returning to more regular blogging, I felt bad for missing so many days in a row.  The laptop didn't make the trip and I was too sick to address the lack upon my return. 

Will try for sleep again,


18 July 2010

Camp time tales

My three favorite little girls have been at camp this past week.  The reviews I have gotten so far are mixed.  

For the oldest, this is her third year to go.  She gets herself well packed and is excited in the days leading up to her departure.  Her camp maintains a website so you can see pictures of the kids each day.  She sent me a letter the other day full of news about how much fun she was having. 

For the twins, this is their first year to go, and their reactions are as different as night and day.  I spoke with them yesterday after they returned.  Meredith almost couldn't contain her excitement. She listed all the things she did and offered details without any prompting. Getting any feedback from Julia was arduous.  It is obvious she did not enjoy camp as much as her sister.

Both of the little girls will be coming to spend the night this week.  The first year their older sister was gone to camp, they spent the night with me and we laughingly called it Camp Nené. This year's version will have to work hard to match the original.   The first time Camp Nené was in session my niece Christina was here.  The little girls loved having a teenager to play with.

When I told Julia we would be having camp at my house again she got excited.  The thing that touched my heart was when she said "Just being with you will be fun!" As someone who has always longed to have children, those words just made my day! I am so blessed to have friends nearby who share their children with me and consider me part of their family.  I have wonderful nieces and nephews, but none of them are here.  

Looking forward to Tuesday night when Camp Nené will be in session!

~ jené

15 July 2010

Through the looking glass

Between dreams of late and oddities happening all around me I have the feeling I somehow stepped into a Lewis Carrol book and can't get out.  I decided to just go with the flow and have laughed myself silly on numerous occasions this week.  Perhaps if I were to spend some time with someone to analyze my dreams I would find all sorts of hidden meaning.  I decided to accept it all as a gift from God to help me keep a cheerful attitude during some challenging times.

I am reminded to look for the positive, that even difficulties can provide blessing, and life is mostly what you make of what comes your way.  All thoughts worthy of their own bumper stickers, but encouraging nonetheless.

I am thinking of my grandfather a lot this week.  For the entirety of his life he always made sure to find joy around him.  A dignified man who knew being silly would not dent his dignity.  After all, until the day he died, I called him "Grumpdaddy."  Poor enunciation as a child branded him with a goofy nickname used by me and my sisters.  Yet, that moniker was never uttered by me without respect and admiration.  

Some of my best childhood memories involve this sweet man. He was a man who loved everyone around him.  One phrase each of his grandchildren can recall hearing from him was "Oh, how I love my neighbor!"  He did more than just talk about it, he lived it. Never did he pass someone in need without doing something about it.    It was a delight to go into town with him for an errand.   We'd stop for a soda or a piece of pie.  It was sitting at the soda fountain where folks would come up to him and thank him for something he had done for him.  It seemed I never went anywhere with him without hearing about his kindness. He would always caution me not to tell anyone about our stops when we got back home.  When I was young I used to think he didn't want anyone to know we had splurged on pie.  As I grew older I believe he didn't want me to talk about the things he had done.  I had a feeling most of the times he assisted someone, he did so in secret.

Perhaps the thing that I loved about him most as a child was his ability to play.   I believed that grown men were serious and didn't have the desire or time to play silly games. (I exempted women as my mum frequently indulged in playing make-believe with me)  He would encourage my flights of fantasy as we played in the old tree-house. One summer afternoon found me making patterns in the dusty soil with a stick.  He asked if he could join me and we made a huge drawing on the earth.  When we lived in England he came to visit.  As we traveled all over Europe you could see his delight every where we went.  It remains to this day, a highlight of my time there.

There are many ways he influenced my life but I believe the two most important were to love everyone around you and to take fun wherever you find it, even if you have to make it yourself.

Glad he was my Grumpdaddy,


12 July 2010

Children's books

In anticipation of a new Winnie the Pooh movie next year I have been re-reading  A. A. Milne's classic tales from the Hundred Acre Woods.  Someone jokingly asked me if I was returning to my childhood since I was immersing myself in a children's book.  I have read many children's series as an adult and have found them to be entertaining and have a wealth of life lessons in them.

When people used to tell Milne how they loved his books he often told them he doubted they had yet read "the best one."  When he was then asked to define it he said "For whom, then is the book intended?  That is the trouble. Unless I can say, "For those, young or old, who like the things which I like," I find it difficult to answer. Is it a children's book? Well, what do we mean by that? Is The Wind in the Willows a children's book? Is Alice in Wonderland? Is Treasure Island? These are masterpieces which we read with pleasure as children, but with how much more pleasure when we are grown-up."

Like Mr. Milne, I believe I will continue to read books I enjoy with no thought to the audience they were originally written for.  A good book, is a good book!

Reading again,


P.S.  In case you have never read the book Milne referred to, you can find an on-line copy of 

  Once On A Time below.

09 July 2010


It's something I do daily.  Can I stand without falling this morning?  Have I enough grip to hold a spoon for cereal or is it a toast kind of day?  At my current rate of movement, how long will it take me to get dressed for work?  The morning assessment drives my plan for the day. Occasionally I'll stop for a moment and ponder how odd it is that I now make time to consider things I used to take for granted. 

This morning as I was spending some quiet time in preparation for the day I read a quote from Saint Francis de Sales that got me thinking. He said "Be who you are and be that well." Considering that as I got dressed for work I concluded I was going to be a person who moved slowly today but was going to help everyone I could.  At the heart of me, nothing has really changed in my motives and desires.  I have just had to changed how I work them out on a day to day basis.

I believe the need to daily reassess has turned into a gift.  No longer can I just jump into the day with little or no thought or preparation.  I know that having to think more about how to achieve what I want has helped me to "Be who you are and be that well."  Regardless of how I may feel at any given moment about the situation that has brought me here, I need to remember it has blessed me with the opportunity to be the best me!

Musings from a challenged day,


07 July 2010


When I last checked in it was the beginning of a wild ride for my family.  It seemed challenge after challenge came our way.  Since many of them were not my own I did not feel I could share the struggles without violating the privacy of those I love.   At one point I held one of my sweet nieces in my arms as she cried and asked "Why are all these bad things happening to our family?"  

I had thought to get back to blogging when things settled down.  As it turned out, once one thing settled down, another would pop up.  Kind of like those "Whack-a-mole" games on a continuous repeat.

For me the hardest part has been watching my sisters face these difficult times.  I am almost used to my life falling apart and feel confident I can cope as it does.  After all God has been with me so far and I know He's not going anywhere. The heartbreak was knowing my loved ones were in pain.  Nothing else can make me feel so helpless.  No matter how much I supported them, prayed for them and loved them, it never seemed enough.  In reality, I know it was the whole family coming together that got each of us through all the difficulties.

Now things have returned to the land of just your regular run of the mill catastrophes.  Convection oven died, car battery died a week later, car got hit two weeks after that, and I have gotten a disease which will recur randomly for which there is little effective treatment.  This I know, and this I can deal with. 

I know from long experience the best ways to make it through are the following:

  • prayer, lots and lots, both mine and those praying for me
  • meditation to quiet my soul so I can listen for God's voice
  • encouragement and support from family and friends
  • a wonderful doctor who is committed to keeping me as healthy as possible
  • the blessing of coming from a long line of determined people

Glad to be back in the blogsphere, didn't feel completely cut off as I kept in touch with many through facebook and twitter, but it's nice to be home.

~ jené