My Story (or at least some of it)

I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend. Above all of this I am a true believer and follower of Jesus Christ.

Although, it didn't always used to be this way.

When I was younger I was wreckless and rebellious. I was a deliquent and did many, many things I was not supposed to do. I was very manipulative and had many different faces. I drank and did drugs and witnessed many different things a young person should never have to see. I did believe in God but truly thought He had given up on me and therefore I did not like or respect Him.

Little did I know He had a plan for me.

One day, while drinking myself silly on my balcony with some friends, I heard an inner voice ask me "What the hell are you doing? You deserve so much better than this!" (I believe in treatment they call that a moment of clarity. ) Of course it didn't stop me from drinking that night but it did start a chain reaction of events that lead me to where I am today.

I did check myself into treatment not long after that event and I have been sober every since. That was on March 3, 2000.

Since that time I have graduated from college with a B.S. in Geography specializing in cultures. I have found the love of my life, Jeff, and we got married on May 27, 2006. Very soon after that we got pregnant (surprise!) and we had Gracie on March 17, 2007. We moved to SC in June of 2007 and we had our son, Donovan, on February 10, 2010.

I have been blessed in so many ways. I have the love of a good man, 2 beautiful children, the support and love of a wonderful family and amazing friendships that have lasted through good and bad. I know that God has a purpose for my life and I am so grateful that He has given me a second chance at living.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Lately I have had so many people ask me about my Thanksgiving menu.
"Do you have any creative ideas for Thanksgiving?"
"Is there a special glaze you use for the turkey?"
"What is a simple side dish I can put together fast?"
"I want to do traditional, yet creative..can you help?"

These are just a few of the questions I have heard over that last week. So I will post my Thanksgiving menu and if there is anything you would like the recipe to please just message me or email me. I am always happy to share.
However, I will tell you that my mom does most of the cooking. With my 2 little ones, it makes it difficult for me to cook the entire Thanksgiving meal myself. But that's one thing Thanksgiving is all about anyway, spending time with family.
So here is what we are having!

Turkey (of course): The turkey will be baked in the oven and basted. My mom usually handles this but if you have any questions just let me know.

Mashed potatoes with leeks served with brown turkey gravy. (The gravy will be made from turkey drippings from the oven)

Sweet potato casserole with puree brown butter and orange zest (This is a dish that was shared with us last year from Sabrina Dickson and it is absolutely delicious!)

Classic green bean casserole

Roasted brussel sprouts with garlic and thyme

Buttered rolls

Cranberry medley

Oyster or Sausage stuffing (This is something my mom makes but I am sure she would be happy to share the recipe)

And of course pies:
Pumpkin, Pecan, Banana Pudding, and Blueberry

There are several dishes we have made in the past that we are not making this year.
Corn casserole
Espresso Creme Brulee
Roasted potatoes and onions with garlic and rosemary
Pumpkin or Butternut Squash soup

We also prepare a few appetizers for people to snack on since we normally don't eat until around 230 or 3. So we have a relish dish out with olives, pickles and peppers. A meat and cheese tray is usually present and probably some deviled eggs. There are 2 different types of deviled eggs I make (and I am not including classic deviled eggs). I make Smoked salmon deviled eggs and I make loaded deviled eggs. Both are a huge success!

I hope some of this helps and I am flattered that people have come to me about their cooking needs.
I wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving and I am looking forward to this holiday season. May God be with you!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Borrowing Faith

I saw a quote today that really inspired me. It was directed to a pastor who had moved from Michigan to Georgia to plant a new church. This pastor had become very discouraged with his new church community. The numbers were not what he was seeking and he had no desire to lead a small congregation.
After 3 years he went back to Michigan to seek guidance (and possibly a job) from his former pastor and original sponsor of the church planting endeavor.
His former pastor said to him "If you have lost faith, borrow mine." The pastor returned to Georgia and continued in his work at the church he had started. The congregation grew and today they have over 3400 members in that church. All because someone believed in him even though he did not believe in himself.
Have you every borrowed faith from someone? How many times? And why did you lose your faith in the first place?
I know for me....I usually lose faith in myself. I start to tell myself that I can't handle things or that I am weak. Then discouragement settles in and makes a nice home in my head. I try to take a stand and snap out of it but it doesn't always work. My self esteem usually hits bottom and I begin searching for a way up.
And that is when I start to see other people and their faith in me.
I hear others words and see their actions toward me. I look and notice how other people have faith and believe in me. So I take their faith and remember that until I gain my own back; which usually doesn't take very long. At least not anymore.
On the other hand, I continue to have faith in many other areas in my life. I have great faith in God and I know He has His hand in everything. He will always provide my needs.
I have great faith in my family and know that they will be there for me even if I can't be there for myself.
I have great faith in others around me. I know that the people I choose to associate with are made for great things. He has a plan and purpose for all of us and it is nothing we can't handle or accomplish without His help. There is no doubt in my mind that I will rise up when He calls my name to come home!
So I pray that my faith in me will continue to grow and become stronger, just as my faith in our God has grown and can not be broken!

And if you ever find yourself lost in faith, borrow mine.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I love music! It is an amazing thing. It has the ability to move me in so many ways. Such a range of emotions I can experience by listening to just one song. Music has the uncanny ability to make me laugh, cry, remember, forget, think, give me strength or make me weak.
Lately I have been mostly listening to Christian contemporary. I love when I get in the car and listen to music I have never really heard before and I feel better about my day. Even after only listening to 2 songs on the radio. Or even better, I
know the song cause we sing it in church and
I can sing along! Now I am not the best singer but in my car I ROCK!
But what truly makes my heart smile is when I am in the car with Gracie and I hear "How Great is Our God" coming from the back seat. She may not know all the words to the song but she gets the most important part of the song out. She may not be able to carry a tune (bless her little heart) but to me she has the voice of an angel!
I just love music! And my little girl!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Life (or lack there of)

I have been hearing a lot of questions lately. Questions people have been asking about life, meaning and purpose. It has really made me think about what I am doing with my life and what I should be doing with my life. What is the purpose of my life? What is the cost of carrying out my purpose? Where do I go from here? What ideas and goals are purely mine and which ones are the ones God has planned for me?
The answer: I don't know. I don't know what my purpose for being here is. I don't know God's great plan for me. I don't know what all I am going to have to do to fulfill my purpose. I don't know what it's going to cost me.

I do know a little bit about who I am today. I am a wife and a mother of 2 beautiful children and I know God has given me that role to fill. He has trusted me with these lives; to care for and to watch over while I am here. I know there is a reason I went through the past that I did and I can only hope my past will allow me to do good with others. I know that God has gifted me with some many talents and abilities; although I don't believe I have discovered all of them yet.

I really feel right now that my life is kind of at a stand still. There are many paths to choose from and some of which I really want to take. Others I feel like I am going to be forced to take even though I don't want to do them. And yet I am not sure which way to go. I have all these dreams and goals I wish to accomplish but I don't know if that is what I am supposed to be doing with my life.
A part of me also feels like my life is not my own. I feel like I am so consumed with others around me and with their needs and schedules that somehow I am getting lost in the mix. And when I do try to take some time for me, I feel as if I am being selfish. And I know that is a horrible way to feel and that I do deserve some "me" time.

I think just overall I just really feel like I don't know where I am going. I know Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and He will show me the way. I know I need to be patient and open to His plan for me. But I have to admit, while I am being patient, I am starting to feel a little bit alone.

This is going to sound very strange but I kind of feel like Woody from Toy Story 2. (Probably because Gracie has been watching it alot). There is a part in the beginning of the movie when Woody's arm is ripped and Andy's mom places Woody up on the shelf. He is placed there so that he can be mended later.
When the other toys try to talk to him, Woody just curls up and shuts them out. Probably thinking that the other toys won't understand what he is feeling and going through.

That's really how I kind of feel. I am broken and torn. God has placed me on a shelf and will tend to me in His time. Even though that's how it should be, I still feel like I am alone and that others won't understand. (Either that or I need to lay off the Disney movies for a while).
So here I am, up on my shelf and waiting for God to use me as He sees fit. I will continue to go through the motions of my day and keep my heart and mind open to Him. And if I am anything like Woody, not only will I be saved but I will get the opportunity to help save others!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Matthew 5:9

"Blessed are the peacemakers." Matthew 5:9
I have been hearing this scripture a lot lately. Mostly because of the new ministry at church called Celebrate Recovery. But it has also been popping up in other places.
Lately I have been reading (when I get a chance) a book called 'Staying Positive in a Negative World: Attitudes that Enhance to Joy of Living' by Roger Campbell. So far, a pretty good book. There are a few things I would not agree with but overall good.
Chapter 6 is titled "Look for the best in others". At the end of the chapter he brings up scripture Matthew 5:9 and he asks the question "What does a peacemaker do?" He follows up with this answer:
"He forgets the gossip that he hears about others.
When the faults of his friend becomes the topic of discussion, he manuevers the conversation to another subject.
When he hears something negative about another, he doesn't feel its his duty to report what was said.
When he is approached by one of two of opposing odds, he refuses to let his ear become a dumping ground for criticism.
When he hears a complimentary comment about someone, he is eager to pass the good word along.
He is will to mediate between those who are in disagreement.
He understands about the weaknesses of all people but doesn't major on them.
He has learned to bridle his tongue (James 1:26)
He is swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath (James 1:19)"
I love this list of characteristics he gives to describe a peacemaker. Do you hold any of the characteristics?
The one that really stood out to me the most was 'When he hears a complimentary comment about someone, he is eager to pass the good word along.' That stuck out to me cause I do that. I love to do that. In fact, the person who taught me to do that is my cousin. (Thanks Jessica!) She mentioned a comment to me one day that she overheard her sisters say about me. She heard them say "Jill is really pretty!" and Jessica decided to tell me that. She said she tries to always make it a point to tell people when she hears a comment about them. And I thought 'What a great idea!' So since then, I have tried to make it a point to tell people when I hear compliments about them.
It never occurred to me, however, that this was a form a peacemaking. But it makes absolute sense. When I pass along those comments to the other person, both of us feel blessed. They feel blessed from the compliment and I feel blessed because I was able to put a smile on their face. It is also a blessing for the original person who gave the compliment because gratitude will more likely be shown upon them when they are seen again by that person. Three people being blessed in one swoop. How amazing and awesome is that?!? Spreading good news causes good feelings! Incredible!
Now if we could get the media to be more on board with spreading more positive then negative, we might start to see some radical changes! :)