February 25, 2010

I love you still

I awoke from a dream this morning, I was dreaming of you.  I dreamed that you had abandoned me... again.  Old hurts sometime remain, under the surface, I guess.  I didn't even realize that today was your birthday.  I know that last year it came and went before I remembered it.  I miss you. I might have forgotten your birthday, but I have never forgotten you.

Your hatred for me as a child is well known by many but, I loved you still.  You were my mother.  You did not protect your children, and as our mother you should have.  You spent my childhood blaming me for your mistake.  Openly saying you wish you had prevented my birth and that you hated me.  I have tried desperately to forget how you berated and abused me and in the end disowned me. I have come to realize that I have not walked in your shoes, not cried your tears, nor felt your loneliness or your heartache for lost love.  I forgive you Momma, I love you still. 

Some of my friends, and now anyone that would read this will know, that I do not remember my life before the age of 12.  God is gracious like that.  I have no desire to uncover those memories, He has cast them aside as far as the East is from the West.  I know bits and pieces as told to me by my 5 siblings, and that is enough.  And a hand full that return from the few photos I have.  Years ago during a counseling session, my therapist told me that as my children reached certain ages, it could trigger memories of me at that age, and yes it did.  Mostly unpleasant, but some were wonderful.  You taught me to make a skirt when I was only 6 years old, it even had a zipper.  I can sew and I can sew well, and that is because of you.  I love my family desperately, and that too is because of you.  I gave my life to Jesus and brought my children up to know Him, and that in a strange way is your doing too.  I ached and cried out in my soul to be different from you and that led me straight to Him.

And then you disowned me, October, 2001.  Why?  I saw you many times in stores around town, you would look straight at me and then turn away, like I was nothing, no one.  It broke my heart.   I saw you several years later at Jeremy's wedding, you looked unwell.  Teresa encouraged me to speak to you, I did.  I  told you how I missed you, how much I loved you, how I wanted us to not be at odds against each other any more.  You made a scene at the wedding, you told me you didn't want to have anything to do with me, that you hated me.  Why?  I remember a few months before you died, I saw you in Walmart in the check-out lane.  I remember I stood behind a display rack about 20 feet away and just watched you, listened to your voice as you spoke with the cashier, and the little girl inside me cried out to her mother, I love you still.

In December, 2005,  I received a phone call that you were gone.  I was devastated, no more time to make amends, no more second chances.  No more I love yous.  But, the caller was mistaken and you were indeed alive, but only barely.  When I got to the hospital as ill as you were you remembered that you were mad at me.  It was difficult, heart breaking.  But, as a few moments ticked by you softened towards me.  You told me you loved me and I you.  You told me you had always loved me and were very proud of me. .... and then you were gone.  I had waited 42 years to hear those words and then you were gone.  No more second chances, no happy ending...just gone, but you loved me still!

I think you had known Him for sometime, your sister told me as we were preparing for your funeral how you came to know Him.  What happened?  Why did you turn your back on Him?  I have over time thought about it, and I have an idea in my mind.  I think you were angry, so angry that you blamed yourself and you blamed Him.  And because of that you would not accept His love for you, you couldn't forgive yourself for what you had done and you couldn't forgive others, but He loved you still.

I know that I have not always treated you with respect, and many times I got what I deserved from you.  I was a smart mouth kid, but my children and I did nothing to deserve being disowned by you for 5 long years.  You cheated my girls out of a grandmother, and now that I am one, that is unacceptable.  But, also now that I am one, I realize that you suffered a greater loss by not knowing them.  I am grieved by that, but.... they love you still.

There are many similarities between our relationship and the one we share with God.  We abuse Him, mistreat and ignore Him, but He loves us still and He is always ready to forgive and give us a second chance.  I was not always that forgiving towards you, but I came to understand that through His forgiveness, I too must forgive.  I am ever grateful that your last words were that you knew Him, believed in Him and would see us again, You loved Him still!

Don't for one second believe that it was easy for me to write this or to learn to forgive my mother.  It has only been by the grace of God that I am able to do both and it has taken a long time to do so.  And to never share this part of my life would be to never share how God used it for the better.  I have always loved my mother and I know now that she has always loved me and because of God's grace, inspite of ourselves, HE LOVES US STILL.

I miss you more than words can say & love you still,

julie sig

Him:  Jesus, our Savior & Redeemer

February 22, 2010

Chasing the KWS Band

Noah Hunt (lead vocal), Jeff, me, Kenny Wayne (world's greatest living blues guitarist!)

This past weekend, Jeff and I set out on another road trip.  Chasing the Kenny Wayne Sheperd Band to Antone's in Austin.  

It was a quick trip for us, leaving after work on Saturday around 3pm and return a mere 24 hours later on Sunday.  We arrived at the Hilton Austin just before 6pm, not leaving us very much time to change clothes, find something to eat and get to the venue.  We were lucky enough to get a hotel fairly close to Antone's which was on the same street about 5 blocks down.  That made it much easier.  So, once we walked down to the concert site and checked it out we knew it was safe to try to grab a bite to eat.  We ended up eating at a little deli a few doors down from Antone's, Hog Head Deli or something like that.  We shared a sandwich and cheese fries!  Yummo. The sandwich was a Caprese salad sandwich with a few slices of salami on it, it was light and refreshing and absolutely yummy.  (So yummy in fact,  that Jeff came home Sunday night and whipped us up a few for dinner.) 

Then we headed over to the concert, waited in line for about 30 more minutes and then we were let inside.  It was a sold out concert and no doubt many were turned away, but we had purchased our tickets online several weeks back.  There was an opening acting, someone called Shurman, but we really weren't interested.... we were waiting for the real deal.  Since we are members of the KWS fan club, we had passes to go 'back stage' so to speak and we spent that time waiting for our chance to meet with Kenny.  When we did.... we were a little star stuck, but luckily we weren't the only ones.  I am telling you that if you like blues music, you have absoutely got to see the KWS band in concert.  They put on a great show, and Kenny is just incredible.  The show Saturday had to be the best we have seen.  

We had a great time, after the concert around 12:15am we were starving, remember we shared a sandwich earlier.  So, Jeff drug me all over downtown looking for somewhere to eat,  he drug me over to 5th Street and after about 1 block I put my foot down and said I wasn't going any further.  Doesn't he know we are old?  Way too old to be on 5th Street on a Saturday night.  We headed back to the hotel and ordered room service, a toasted Ruben, fries and a bowl of tortilla soup.  Then we were out like a light,  missed the breakfast buffet the following morning.  We packed up and headed for the Green Mesquite and had some delicious BBQ and chicken fried steak.  A couple of funny things there... the back of our waitress' shirt read, "God knows if you don't tip" and a sign on the wall read "Horrifying Vegetarians Since 1988".  Pretty funny.  Highly recommend the Green Mesquite on Barton Springs.

As we drove around Austin with the windows down and the sunroof open, enjoying the 77 degree weather, we decided to make one more stop before heading home.  We drove down Congress and stopped at Hey Cupcake and shared a 24 Carrot stuffed with fresh whipped cream and listened to the guitar player who serenaded us in the sunshine.  The we jumped on 35 and headed home, of course making one more stop at West to buy some kolaches for the girls.  Whew!  We have had a busy couple of weeks, time for some rest.
julie sig

Magic & Whimsy

Ok, I really don't believe in magic, but I that doesn't mean I don't think things need to be magical.  Like weddings, childhood & love stories.  We didn't have lots of money when our children were small (still don't for that matter), but I tried my best to make things special & maybe even magical for our girls.

I remember the first time Jill, Jordan & Justine saw Willie Wonka.  I bought each of them a giant chocolate bar and gave it to them and told them they couldn't open it until Charlie found the golden ticket.  They sat there anxiously awaiting the moment that Charlie found the golden ticket.  Their bars were beginning to melt because they held them so tightly.  With each bar that Charlie opened they would begin to tear theirs open only to be disappointed that he hadn't yet found the ticket.  Then when he did, their excitedly opened their bars.  They were so cute.

Then there was the first time we took them to Disney World.  I remember asking Jeff, if I can make enough money can we go to Disney World for New Years?  It was late September at the time.  He said sure, I mean seriously... I didn't have a real job, only my little craft business, so there really wasn't much chance I could do it.  I don't even think we even knew anyone personally who had ever been to Disney World, it seemed like such a far off dream.  But, I worked hard, planned and scrimped and on a shoestring budget of $1200, we took 6 people for 6 days to WDW and stayed in a Disney park!  I remember watching Justine at the tender age of 5 staring up at Minnie in the Light Parade, her eyes as big as saucers... "I love you Minnie", she said. Jill & Jordan watched wide-eyed as Beauty danced with the Beast and of course Jaley toddling along mostly afraid of every character, but the trip was precious & priceless & magical.

One year my brother, dressed as Saint Nick banged on their window and they screamed with excitement and that visit convinced them to believe for several more years.  There are lots of little memories including birthdays and picnics and many of the magical moments moments are the ones the girls created for us and each other. 

What started this whole magic post?  I found this little blog it has directions for making a magical fairy garden.

It reminded me of the time  Jordan made and painted a fairy door for Jaley.  She wanted to put it in her room.  It was so cute and magical and full of whimsy.   I think I am definitely going to have to make one for Violet.  I am excited to share fun times with her and then she can be my little partner when more grandbabies are added to the family.  My goal:  to be the world's best, funnest and most magical GiGi!  Sounds kinda selfish when I put it like that.... doesn't it?  It's all about making magic and whimsy and happiness for those same four little red head girls....and their children!  So really, not much has changed.

julie sig

February 15, 2010

1226 miles and 3 days later!

Ok, once again we have survived a road trip.  I think I am really getting to old for this.  We
filled our cupboards and frig with food, told our children to not leave the house and then .... headed out on our road trip in the snow!
We spent the night in Bossier City.  Already totally wiped out after what should have been a 3 hour drive but turned into a 5 hour drive because of the weather.  Here we are the next morning getting ready to drive another 6.5 hours.

We ran into trouble in this snow because the freeways & overpasses were closed and we had to drive around Bossier City and make a big loop to get back on 49.  We saw a lot of crazy drivers and quite a few wrecks along the way. We had planned to be in New Orleans by lunch, but after way too many hours on the road we made a pit stop at Race Trac for hot dogs and finally made it to the New Orleans Hard Rock at about 3pm.  Here we are with the staff of HRC New Orleans.
Then we made our way on to Biloxi. Where we checked in to another hotel, changed our clothes and headed over to Hard Rock Hotel/Casino/Cafe' Biloxi for the concert.
Heart put on an awesome show and we were about 15 feet from Nancy & Ann!  Here is Nancy belting out Barracuda!
Then we headed over to the cafe' and had a later dinner.  We had a great time and I think Darrell has turned Jeff into a HR groupie like himself!  Here we are with the staff at HRC Biloxi.
When we got up Saturday morning in Biloxi, we were exhausted.  We couldn't believe we had to do that drive all over again.  I mean... seriously, what were we thinking?   We are definitely too old for this.  We drove back through New Orleans as Saturday was the first day of the Mardi Gras parades.  The town was a mad house.  We stopped and ate lunch at one of Jeff's favorite places, Frank's and had muffelatta sandwiches.  The walked around the square for a little bit.  We walked down Bourbon Street for about two blocks and decided we were just not part of that crowd, if you know what I mean.  We quickly detoured and headed toward Cafe du Monde for biegnets.

 As we began to head home from New Orleans at 4pm on Saturday we quickly realized that we did not want to make the long trek of 8 hours home that day.  We finally found a hotel in Alexandria and spent the night.  We we began making plans for this trip we had no idea that we would be hitting New Orleans during Mardi Gras and thus making every hotel from Biloxi to Baton Rouge booked up and even Shreveport/Bossier was full for Saturday night because of Valentine's Day.  We finally arrive home about 4pm on Sunday, exhausted but content.... and ready to plan our next adventure!  But next time.... if it's more than about 3 hours, we're flying!

julie sig

February 12, 2010

Hello from New Orleans

Hard Rock Cafe Staff & us, New Orleans LA

julie sig

February 10, 2010

Ok, because it's almost Valentine's Day... let's get this out in the open...

"Exercise is a dirty word.
Every time I hear it I wash my mouth out with chocolate."

~ Charles Schultz

February 9, 2010

The Road Trips are coming, the road trips are coming...........

Jeff and I have big plans for the next two weekends.  I am so excited.  Our friends, Terrell & Derrell* & Jeff & I are going to Biloxi to see Heart in concert at the Hard Rock.  And on way we are going to stop in and see New Orleans by way of Bossier City.  Sound like fun?  When we planned this trip we had no idea we would be in New Orleans the weekend before Mardi Gras and of course now that NO is the home of the Super Bowl 43 Champions I am sure it will be 'partay town'.  We are going to hit two Hard Rock Cafes in the process.  T & D have a love affair with HRs.  They travel round the globe visiting HR.  It's going to be fun!

Here we are at the Hard Rock, Dallas.

Next weekend, we are heading to our favorite Texas city, Austin!  My beloved, Kenny Wayne is going to be there.  I just can't believe it!  I was on the fan site a few weeks ago just checking to see how far we were going to have to drive this year to see him and there it was listed, KWS at Antone's in Austin.  Austin, just down the road a piece.  So, Jeff I will head to Austin next Saturday.  It's going to be great!

Pics coming soon... hopefully one with me, Kenny & Noah!
PS - Happy Birthday Jussy! ~xoxox Mom

julie sig

* Terrell & Derrell, aka Tara & Darrell or is it Tara & Dara?

February 8, 2010

They made it!

The Haitian Sensations have arrived! 
These two little Haitians are now Peytons and learning to ride bikes, eat s'mores, and not be surprised to find food in the cupboard! I met the boy, J on Sunday, and he is precious.
To read more about these 5 little ones, visit Peyton's Pandemonium.

julie sig