Monday, February 16, 2009

I am back! I promise.

Without having an internet connection (I am 37,000 feet above the earth as I type this) I think the last time I blogged was November. Seriously, I think I’ve been too busy. I remember telling Brad at Thanksgiving that I just needed to make it to the second week of February and things would settle down. So, I began counting down the weeks…

Here I sit, on the way to Scottsdale, on the 15th of February. Back in November, I could never have anticipated what lay ahead of me. All of the busyness and business expansion happened, if not because of my efforts then in spite of them : ) But, adding to the life lessons we pick up along the way was a resounding sense of the Lord saying “not your plans, Mine.”

Today marks the first day of my third trimester of this pregnancy. I am amazed that I still battle nausea daily. It is not as debilitating as it was in the first weeks, but I am growing weary of it. Having said that, a friend of mine was so sick with her last baby that she had to have an IV line inserted so that she could receive fluids and anti-nausea meds throughout the duration of her gestation. So, really, I have nothing to complain about. I am functionally pretty normal (though I am guessing that those close to me are secretly really looking forward to me not being pregnant any more!). I am convinced that being pregnant at 30 is entirely different than being pregnant at 23. This has been a poignant reminder that my body is aging. I am so looking forward to meeting our little Joel Andrew in May. He certainly is a busy little guy.

Joel about 10 weeks ago. We think his profile looks like Tommy's did in utero.

The last time I put any of my thoughts here for you to see, I promised to talk about my Grandma’s visit with her dear friend, Beth. Grandma reminded me of this last week, though I hadn’t really ever forgotten. I just hadn’t found the time. When Grandma and Grandpa flew from New Mexico (actually, they flew from Texas but live in NM) to Minnesota for my birthday in October, I had the privilege of accompanying my Grandmother (dad’s mom) to visit her friend, Beth. Beth lives just outside the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, and Grandma rarely sees her. I think the last time they saw each other was the weekend of my wedding, almost 10 years ago. They talk to each other by phone and email often. In fact, I think Beth and Grandma have a scheduled phone date just like Grandma and Grandpa and I do. Let me re-emphasize one thing here, my Grandmother, who is in her 80s, uses email to communicate with her friend between phone conversations. I was 13 when I got my first computer – a 486! - and Grandma sent me my very first email. This was not someone to reluctantly come to terms with the technological age, she blazed into it ready and willing. Most of you would envy the Macs that grace their desktops.

Since so many months have passed since their visit, I fear I cannot remember how many years Beth and Grandma have known each other. My Grandpa and Beth’s husband graduated from West Point together in the 40s. The women didn’t meet then, though. I seem to remember that they met at Fort Bliss after they were both married. This, however, could be mere construct on my part. Perhaps the funniest part of hearing their stories as they related them to one another and to me was Grandma’s admission that she didn’t like Beth at all when they first met. It had something to do with Beth’s earrings, I think. I am glad that mere pieces of metal did not end up getting in the way of this life-long friendship.

Two thinks struck me, as I sat with these two wonderful women. First, that they’d already been fast friends for 20 or more years at the time that I was born. Somehow, that gave a little more weight to my dad’s assertion that while we’re given our family, we have the privilege of adding to it with our friends. The second thing that really hit home that afternoon was this: we all have stories. Of course we will all tacitly nod at this statement, or even think to ourselves “of course we do, what a obvious thing to say.” But really, as we live our lives, day by day we’re building our legacies.

Each time a President leaves office, or a new administration begins, we hear talk of legacy building. It seems to reference the large things, the things about the presidency that will stand out on the landscape of history. I am not speaking here about events. What I took from this afternoon spent with my Grandmother and her friend was a sense of a joint legacy, a shared history that was more than mere shared experience. We all have that opportunity each day that we live. We can choose to just “get through the next few days/weeks/months” as I referred to at the beginning of this post, or we can live each of those days to do the best we can for those with whom we interact; not only the people we love but the people we don’t even know. The deep breath we take and the smile on our faces after waiting in a long line at a store with cranky kids, or the choice we make not to complain about the road construction or the $15 per bag fee when we check our luggage.

At the end of the day, my gut-check is this: Did I teach my children to love Jesus more in what I did and didn’t do, and in doing so do I love Him more? Sadly, too many days, I think my answer is “no”. As my story builds and I add to a shared history with those around me, I strive to have more days where my answer is “yes,” but only with His help, strength and grace.

Grandma is the one with the lovely white hair. I do hope I inherit this beautiful white (I seem to have inherited the other characteristics of her hair, why not that?).


Patti and Bob Shannon said...


I believe that Beth and my mom met in 1948. Beautiful writing, Sweetie, and I, too, am looking forward to meeting Joel.

Love, Dad.

The Johnson Family said...

Jess - Baby Joel looks really adorable! And your grandma and her friend Beth are so cute too - what a blessing to have such a wonderful friend for 60+ years! I hope I can say that some day...

Looking forward to seeing you guys on Sunday! And I hope your trip is going well. Love ya.

God's Girl said...

Oh how I love that statement... did I teach my children more about Jesus by what I did than what I did not do?

I pray daily that I would teach my daughter to passionately love Jesus!

Nice to meet you!

Ginger Murray said...

Lovely post.

And, I can't believe baby Joel is coming in May... that feels so soon!!