August 30, 2010

In Memory of My Bubba

Last Sunday evening, while preparing supper at my in-laws house, I noticed that I had missed call from my Mama. As I was preparing to call her back, I received the alert that she had left me a voicemail. I checked the message. She said simply “Kimberly, please call me.”

For my Mama, that meant something serious was happening. I called her back and was informed that my cousin Barry had been admitted to the ICU for chest pains and shortness of breath. “But everything is checking out okay.” Mama said “I told your Aunt to call us if anything changes.”

One hour later things changed. A CT of the heart, showed that my cousin had an aneurism in his aorta that had enlarged to 6 cm. He was going to be transferred to a larger hospital in Savannah and would undergo immediate surgery. I commented to M “This is just how things started with my Uncle.”

M assured me that my cousin was younger, healthier, and that even the physicians stated that he should make a full recovery. At 10:03 p.m., I received the first text that he was headed into the O.R. At 5:25, I received a text that he was finished with surgery and resting comfortable. At 6:30, he was back in the operating room….

With each text, I felt my emotions swinging back and forth. I kept praying “Let him be okay…let him be okay.” I headed into work, with the plan that M and I would drive down later that afternoon to visit him in post-op. But at 8:15, I received a text that stated things had taken a turn for the worst…. We were advised to head to the hospital. I called my parents, dropped Joycelen off at daycare, and we started towards Savannah. As we drove out of town, I received the call – my cousin Barry was gone – just 39 years old, leaving behind a beautiful wife Jennifer, and two daughters, Hannah who is 9 and Haleigh who is 3.

Barry was a larger than life persona. He loved his family, music, and Jesus. He never met a stranger, always had a smile on his face, and loved to make people laugh. As an only child, I often asked him if he had ever wished for siblings. He would always respond “Nope, Pearl (his nickname for me), why do I need siblings – when I have you?”.

And it is true, although we were just cousins – our mothers sisters – we lived as though we were brother and sister. I adored him, and followed him around as a little girl – and then as I grew older he became one of my closest confidants. In turn, he offered brotherly advice, and would grill any of the boys I brought home from college. And like so many brothers and sisters do, we fought – since we were both headstrong, we would often disagree and hold our ground. But then with a single joke, the fight would be over. I last saw him at Easter. I remember that I was holding Joycelen – he walked over, told me again how beautiful she was, then hugged me and said “I love ya, Pearl.” My response was “Love you too Bubba.”

I would never have imagined that that would be last time I would say those words to him. Needless to say, it was a difficult week for our family. But we take comfort in knowing that while we feel pain, Barry is at peace. We know that he professed Jesus Christ as Savior, and as such is now rejoicing with the Lord in Glory. And I know that someday, I will see him again.

August 18, 2010

Weekend in Atlanta, Part 1


Hi guys! Joycelen here --- Mama is super busy at work. She keeps mumbling about auditors, GLSA reports, and account recs. I don’t know what any of that stuff is, but I do know that it is keeping her too busy to blog. So I thought I would tell ya’ll about our trip to Atlanta last weekend.


We left early on Saturday morning to head to the big city.  Daddy drove while Papa Babo was the navigator. Apparently, Papa’s idea of navigating is to snore until Nana wakes him up. Papa’s snoring made me sleepy so I took a nap myself.


When I woke up, I decided to play with Mama’s sunglasses.



What do you think? Do I look stylish?

After a few stops at Bass Pro Shop in Macon, and the outlets in Locust Grove, we arrived in Atlanta. We got turned around a few times before we made it to the hotel. Daddy says that Mama is bad with directions, Mama says she knew exactly what she was doing.

Once we arrived at the hotel, Mama and Daddy got ready for dinner with her college roommate Kim D.  I stayed with my Papa and Nana while they had “date night” at the Braves game.

On Sunday morning, we woke up and had breakfast with my “Uncle Streamline”


He was so silly that I laughed the entire time. I absolutely love the new toy that he bought me.


Once we were done with breakfast, we told Uncle Streamline bye and headed to the stadium. And this time Mama didn’t get us lost.

Mama just told Daddy that she needed to check e-mail, so I guess I’ll have to finish my recap tomorrow……

August 13, 2010

Always, Sometimes, Never

I saw this on Jennifer's blog and decided to play along.


Take long baths before a “date night” w/ M
Play with my hair when I am going to sleep
Hang the clothes in my closest by type, color and length.
Email M as soon as I arrive at work
Drink Diet Coke with Breakfast (who needs coffee)

Skip workouts just to go home and read blogs
Watch bad reality television – Real HouseWives for example
Rewash a load of laundry just so I do not have to put it in the dryer

End a phone call, visit, email with family/friends without saying I love you!
Am without a book to read
Go to sleep without snuggling Joycelen
Forget to put on sunscreen (I am pale and prone to burning)

August 07, 2010

Five Months




Your now 5 months old.  Here are the important stats for this month:

  • You weigh 16 pounds and are over 25 inches long.
  • You now wear size 2 diapers.
  • You are wearing mostly 3-6 month clothing, but there are a few outfits that you wear that are 6-9 months.
  • You are still army crawling across the floor.



  • You go to sleep each night between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. and sleep all the way until 7:30 a.m.
  • You take 2-3 naps each day.
  • You started solid foods and seem to love them. You especially love sweet potatoes, green beans, and bananas. You are not a big fan of peas.
  • You are becoming even more verbal – this month you discovered your ability to shriek. You like to do this when you think nobody is paying you attention.
  • You learned a new skill this month:


Each day, Daddy and I see changes in you. We are loving watching you grow!


Mama & Daddy

August 05, 2010

Bigger Picture Moments: Joy in Obedience

Another Thursday, another chance to share my weekly Bigger Picture Moment. For more inspiring moments, visit Hyacenth's blog.

The Sunday evening service began like each and every service prior. We were welcomed by the song leader. The choir sang, a prayer was offered, more singing, and then the service was turned over to our pastor.

From my seat in the sound booth (hubby runs the sound board, and I operate the computer/projector) I half-heartedly listened as our pastor explained there would be no sermon that night. Instead, a guest speaker would be sharing his story. With his words, I closed the program we use to project the sermon notes, and opened up Spider Solitaire.

As the speaker took the stage, I began my first game….

{Jack to Queen, Queen to King}

He was tall, slender, with a neatly trimmed beard. His voice – a deep rich tenor – was heavily accented. He thanked the congregation for the opportunity to speak to us. He apologized for his accent. English was not his native tongue. He spoke French – and a little Hatiain Creole.

{Ace to the two…. Board cleared – Game won}

And then he began to sing – an hymn that I am familiar with – I’ll Fly Away. But instead of English, he sang in his native tongue. The sanctuary rang with the beautiful melody. Suddenly, Spider Solitaire no longer interested me.

From my seat at the back, I began to sing along with him. Our voice melded – his French, my English – and I though “This is what heaven will be like … each nation represented, each tongue spoken all for the glory of God.”

After he ended the song, he told his story. He is a pastor of small church in Haiti – a church that was devastated by the earthquake in January. Thru tears, he spoke of the agonoy he feels as he tries to feed the widows and orphans in his congregation. He told us that his country was poor with a history of voodoo – and though he has had opportunities to come to America, he chooses to stay where God is using him.

My heart was pricked. I have a nice home, a good job, two vehicles in my garage, clothes to wear, food to eat – and yet I am often ungrateful. I had grown resentful of the service that I was asked to give….

Suddenly, I saw myself much like my 3 year old niece, stomping my foot and telling God “No, I don’t want too.”

The tears began to flow, and as our pastor called for the ushers to collect a lover offering for our guest, I felt the nudge on my heart – “Write the check” the Lord whispered.

Without hesitation, I took out the checkbook, wrote the check – and in that moment peace flowed over me. I felt joy, exhilaration, happiness. Not because I had given money. The emotion was because I was obedient to my Heavenly Father.

Obedience brings joy – a simple truth that I have always known – it just took a Haitian preacher with a tenor voice to remind me.

Birthday Recap

My 28th birthday was a wonderfully relaxing day filled with all of my favorite things and favorite people.

I began my day by playing with this adorable little girl.


Then I went shopping with my sister. I managed to purchase several new items. The best part was that they were all on sale. After a delicious lunch with my Mom, Dad, sister, nephew, niece and Joycelen – I spent the afternoon getting pampered.


M bought me a gift certificate to my favorite salon. He is treating me to a pedicure, eyebrow wax, and a haircut. He says I deserve to be pampered.

I returned to my parents house after my hour long pedi to find these waiting on me


M sent me a dozen roses. And when he arrived home from work, he had an incredibly sweet card and my favorite candy. I felt so spoiled.

Since it was Wednesday night, we went to church – where everyone wished me Happy Birthday. Following an amazing Bible study with my youth group, I came home and logged on to find nearly 100 Facebook messages wishing me a Happy Birthday. I also had text messages from many family members and friends.

It was definitely a day to remember!

August 04, 2010

Happy With Me

This week, Caitlin's amazing book is being released . In honor of the release, she is asking bloggers to post about the theme "Changing the Way You See - Not the Way You Look". Here is my story...

Ten years ago, I celebrated my 18th birthday. I spent the evening before enjoying supper with two of my best friends. We laughed for hours over appetizers, entrees, and decadent desserts. The next day (my actual birthday) we wasted hours riding the dirt roads of my hometown on 4-wheelers. I felt happy, content, and alive – I was 100% happy with whom I was – it would be the last time I would feel that way for nearly a decade.

Two days after my 18th birthday, I packed all of my worldly possessions into a rental van and drove with my father to the big city of Atlanta. I was there to begin my collegiate career at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech for short). I was there to obtain a college diploma. Four years later, I left with that diploma and an eating disorder.

Everything started innocently enough. Following my freshman year, I wanted to lose the 15 or so pounds that I had gained. I started working out at the on campus gym. One day, in the girl’s locker room, someone mentioned diet pills. I started using the diet pills and the weight seemed to melt off. However, the heart palpations, jitters, and other side effects were too much, so I left the pills – and turned to bulimia instead. By my junior year, I was at a dangerous weight; my “binges” were fruit and water. After my junior year, I moved back in with my Aunt for the it was harder to hide my disorder. I gained about 20 pounds. From the outside things seemed okay. But there were not.

In December 2005, a good friend confronted me about my eating disorder. While I had managed to “hide” my bulimia from nearly everyone else in my life, she had seen the ugly truth. With her help, I was able to get therapy and move past my bulimic tendencies.

This is the point where I would like to say that I learned to be happy in my body, to love me no matter what the scale said. But it’s not. Even though I stopped having bulimic episodes, I was still a disordered eater. Food was classified by “good” or “bad”. Workouts were done for the most calorie burn, not because I enjoyed them or wanted to challenge myself physically.

And then I became pregnant. Each day, as I watched my body change, as I begin to feel the baby move within me, I thought about the kind of mother that I wanted to be. I knew that I wanted my child to grow up confident, happy, content with themselves. I took a vow to love my body as it is and to focus on what it was doing.

For 9 months, I listened to my body. I ate what I craved, worked out to the level I felt like that day, and embraced my pregnancy. Some days I ate tons of vegetables and fruits and would do my regular aerobics classes. Other days, I ate chocolate and skipped the gym to take an afternoon nap. I honored my body while it did the most pressing task it would ever do – nurture a human life. In return my body honored me.

Once my daughter was born, I continued the same pattern. I trusted my body to tell me what it needed. And five months post baby, I am at peace with my body. Let me state that again, after 5 years of active bulimia, 5 years of disorder eating… I am at peace with my body.

If you were to ask me my weight, I couldn’t tell you. But I will be happy to tell you how much weight I can bench press, my new PR goal for my next 5k, or any of my other fitness goals.

Ten years ago, I was an 18 year old girl who was thin but not healthy. Today, I am a 28 year old woman who is strong, fit, healthy, and above all else happy with whom she is.