decisions, hope, Life, love, Mistakes, redemption, triumph, Uncategorized

The First Story I Ever Wrote

On this day, the day before my debut novel is released to the world, I think back on the road that led me here. During the first serious conversation with a publisher, they all but insisted that I remove some of the God content in my novel. Another publisher, a Michelle Jester BlogChristian one, strongly suggested that I remove some of the intense adult subject matter. I couldn’t change the circumstances that two publishers wanted different key elements removed from my book. I didn’t intend to self-publish, which is why I sent out many query letters, but self-publishing was never off the table for me. I’ve been involved with different aspects of publishing for many years, so I know a bit of the ins and outs of it. Going with a traditional publisher is always appealing, simply because of their vast resources. I’d also learned early on about the stigma and failure that often comes from the Indie author arena. While that Michelle Jester Blogarea of publishing is growing enormously and includes many successful authors, it unfortunately still has a bit of a black eye of sorts. I wanted to give my work the best possible chance it could have. However, needless to say, if I had taken out the God content or the intense adult subject matter, there would be no book left.

“The best chance your book has,” my husband said one day, “is to be what it is.” So, a year ago on June 19, 2016, I started the journey to self-publish my first novel, The Funeral Flower.

Through that journey I’ve thought often about another first: the first story I ever wrote. Matter of fact it was the first for-my-eyes-only full length story I ever finished. I was eleven. It was short, definitely less than 10,000 words and was about two young girls who attempted suicide together; one succeeded and the other didn’t. The one that died was free, free from pain and misery; the one that lived is left racked with pain and despair.

That girl goes through the following days planning the next time she’d attempt it. She michelle jester blog post 72001thinks of guns and pills, but those were hard to find and even if she did find pills, her luck she’d end up taking her mom’s hormone pills and simply grow an extra breast or something. She couldn’t drown or hang herself…tried.

Then, in the story enters boy.

Yes, omgosh, God forbid a boy comes in and saves the day. But, it’s my story so, it was a Michelle Jester Blogboy. And that boy was nice. Now, I know psychologically why I made it a boy, so I’m happy with the boy. However, just to ease any independent feathers out there, it could very easily have been a dog (well without the strong contrast in comparison thing).  I, though, the eleven year old writer of said story, made it a boy. And that boy taught that girl about innocent love.

The girl who lived and the one who didn’t, start to both transform throughout the story. While the living becomes the free one, the other becomes the trapped one. The trapped one would never change any of her circumstances. She’ll carry all that pain and despair, she killed herself to escape, with her for eternity…left to wander around the earth by herself in a lonely existence. Her own prison, trapped because she never found the love that can free all the pain.Michelle Jester BlogYes, I know, eye rolls. It’s okay, I get that a lot. Rose colored glasses, shameless and hopeless romantic, joyful…I’m the annoying one. Ask any of my friends, family, colleagues and they will definitely agree. Deep down though, I’m tattered in places. We all are. Places people don’t see. However, I’m alive and free to use those places in good ways. I can change many of my own circumstances and I can try to help other people.

Michelle Jester BlogStill, I remember crying the whole time I wrote that story because those two girls represented me, an allegory of the transformation that I saw in myself at eleven, the one that died and the one that didn’t. The one that was trapped forever in circumstances she couldn’t change or the one who could change her own circumstance and use the bad in her life to try to help others.

I’m going to flashback to when I was just seven years old. I had a butter knife and I cut my wrists. It took a few times before I saw blood, but I remember vividly that it didn’t hurt as bad as I had expected it to. I also remember as soon as I saw blood, not knowing any better, I lay down and cried until I fell asleep.

I was devastated when I woke up the next morning and had to go to school knowing a boy there was going to beat me up again. He’d told me so the day before and I knew from experience heMichelle Jester Blog wasn’t lying. I looked down at my wrists and could see the thin line of dried blood; however as soon as I washed my hands, barely even a line was visible. Even though my wrists were sore, there was hardly a physical trace of my actions the night before. I was only seven, so of course I had no idea how deep I would have had to cut to kill myself. I’d seen a few movies with people slitting their wrists and it didn’t look too difficult.

So, I went to school, got beat up, came home, mom called the school again, nothing happened again, except for the next morning when the assistant principal called me in to Michelle Jester Blogtell me the same “boys will be boys” and “that’s how boys show they like you” so best to just “ignore it” speech. Same cycle. Even I, at the age of seven, knew that those boys were not showing me affection, but it does make you ponder just how often young women in the seventies, before and after for that matter, were told that also…and just how many of their psyches were embedded with it.

Now, some may hate that fictional story, the first story I ever wrote at the age of eleven, about the two girls who attempt suicide, or the true story of when I was just seven years old and attempted it myself. I also suspect some will hate my unrelated fictional debut novel, that comes out tomorrow, and that’s okay too. There will be people that mirror what those two publishers’ thought; either there is too much God or too much intense adult subject matter.

Either way, I’m free because I let the story be what it is. All the tattered places included.

…and yes, enters boy.Michelle Jester Blog

 

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THE FUNERAL FLOWER Giveaway

When I first sat to read the final copy of THE FUNERAL FLOWER I didn’t expect to cry, but I did cry. Many of the poems included in this book were written when I was a child, teenager and young adult. This signed manuscript is my first blog giveaway, tears included.

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When you sign up for my monthly newsletter you are automatically entered to win.

Look for THE FUNERAL FLOWER out June 20, 2017!!

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 www.michellejesterauthor.com

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How Anemia led to one of my Best Vacations

A month or so after my last blog post about the flood, I began feeling ill. I wasn’t alarmed because I knew I was simply tired from all the running Larry and I had been doing to help others in the flood aftermath. We’d been cooking 2-3 full meals in shifts for each breakfast lunch and dinner, housing friends in rotations so they could take naps and wash their clothes, not to mention delivering clothes/toiletries to area neighborhoods. On top of that, I still had to conduct business, most of my clients are national and the flood didn’t affect them. We’d often stop at the end of the day by falling into bed, like so many others, only to get up and start again a few hours later. So, when I could barely get out of bed one morning, my being exhausted seemed explainable.  Within a week though, my husband began to worry and insisted that I go to my doctor. He worried more because he knows I am an early morning person and typically unable to, even when I want to, sleep past the break of day.

So, off I went. After a host of tests, I was anemic due to an iron deficiency. Okay, no problem, I thought. That’s common enough; michelle_jester_blog 882127 aI’ll just take a few iron pills and be done with it, right? No, nothing is ever that easy. I’m laughing to myself because I remember sliding off the table and telling the doctor how happy that made me. I am pretty sure my doctor lost whatever respect he had for my intelligence at that point. He told me to sit so we could discuss possible reasons. I was soon shocked to learn all the reasons a person could be anemic.  I never knew. Needless to say, I needed a colonoscopy to be sure I wasn’t bleeding internally.

Super fun.

Now, here is the part I need everyone to understand in moving forward with this blog…I will be talking about the colonoscopy experience. It’s not the main topic, but since I had to do this…then you have to share it with me.

In the preparation process, everyone was telling me how horrible it was, everyone except the nurse who went over the process with me. She was amazing. She said “Think of it this way, people pay hundreds of dollars for a colon cleansing. You are getting it for zero out-of-pocket expense.”

Okay…yeah, I think I will look at it that way.

The night before the big day, my husband helped me by having a spoonful of Jell-O ready to eat after each sip. Drink. Yuk. Eat Jell-O. And repeat. And repeat. And repeat. Soon, we were laughing. He, because it’s always funny to watch someone flail in misery and he’s good at laughing at my sarcasm. Me, because he was enjoying this way too much and I look forward to the day it’s his turn, which, given his age, isn’t too far off.

I’m laughing again just thinking about it.

Then, the next morning we go through the process again, only this time I can’t have Jell-O. My husband was forewarned not to laugh. As these things go in our house, he laughed. Then I laughed, and gagged, laughed again. I did get some enjoyment though, because my husband’s gag reflex is mental. When he hears someone gag, he gags. This was of great use to me just then, while I faked gagging several additional times just to keep the party going.

By the time we got to the hospital, I was convinced this would be a decent experience. Everyone at Ochsner Hospital Baton Rouge was amazing. When the doctor came in to michelle_jester_blog 882127explain the procedure, he kept looking at me skeptically. Finally, I asked him what was wrong and he commented that I was in an awfully cheerful mood and typically people aren’t too happy about having a colonoscopy. I told him the truth, it hadn’t been a bad experience thus far, and I was just glad to be getting checked out. He proceeded by telling me he would be asking a few personal questions and just wanted to prepare me. I responded, “After today, you are going to have seen parts of me that no one has ever seen, you and I Doc, are going to be close personal friends, ask away.” Not only did the doctor laugh but so did Larry and the nearby nurses standing outside the curtain.

After the procedure, while we were waiting for the doctor to come back in and talk to us, we heard other people in the recovery area discussing the reasons they were there. It sobered us. One lady was telling her father that he needs to just relax, take it easy for a while, enjoy the rest of his life and try to be happy with the time he has left. Another woman was telling her husband that he needed to stop worrying about their house flooding and be thankful his ulcers are treatable. I felt overwhelming guilt. Here I am in a good mood when people all around me are hurting. Not just medical reasons, flood reasons also. For those that read my last post, Flood, Murder and Louboutin’s, you know that our house did not flood, but you also know we’ve been through other personal tragedies. I didn’t feel guilt over the fact that our house didn’t flood, we just immediately picked up and started contributing where we could. However, in that waiting area I felt guilty. Guilty for finding joy.

For those of you that don’t know me I’ll fill you in…I am the personality type that tries to find the good in the bad, the hope in the hopeless, and joy in despair. I look at life with rose colored glasses on and it drives my logical husband insane for the most part. He is my ground, my stability, even when I don’t want it; in turn I am his optimism.

The doctor finally came in, looked at my husband, and suggested a mandatory getaway, even if just for a few days to recoup a bit from the exhaustion and anemia The yin and the yang vector illustration designbefore delving back into work. He stressed “You can’t care for others, if you aren’t taking care of yourself first.” Now, you can’t tell my husband stuff like that, because he protects me. He is also hard headed, so there was no two ways about it for him, against my adamant refusal, he immediately started planning a getaway weekend. In my mind, there were too many people relying on us to take care of them. In his mind, I was relying on him to take care of me.

Once I saw he wasn’t going to budge, I started helping to plan. We found a balloon festival nearby and began the search for a hotel. Everywhere was booked. I left a message for a few of the bed and breakfasts’ around that area in hopes one of them might have an opening at the last minute. It was frustrating and we almost scrapped that plan for a West Texas football game when we get a call from Cedar Grove Plantation. They had one room left available.

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And this is how anemia led us to this spontaneous weekend trip. Also, how God led us to be right where we needed from the colonoscopy to the B&B. From dinner at a restaurant we weren’t planning to go to (because our choice was overbooked), to sitting outside, because the one we ended up at was also at full capacity.

However, we wound up in the perfect spot to watch as the balloons passed by.

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Most importantly, the ultimate moment, the one to which we have no doubt whatsoever that God directed us to be there: at that moment at that restaurant in those precise seats, we met a couple. A couple who needed to hear our story. Not the colonoscopy or the flood, or my accident or his retirement…our marriage story. The struggles and the successes. They were going through something we’d been through years before. I think my ultimate lesson in this entire story is: we were there because God wanted us to be there for someone else, another of His children. I believe in destiny and Divine purpose. I also believe we can miss our Divine purpose by michelle_jester_blog 882128following our own will, which I’m guilty of more often than not. I also know God can restore purpose and direction with a fresh intensity if you’ve overlooked it or chosen your own way.

Sidenote: I was up that first night for hours, sitting in a big bed watching the fireplace in this plantation room hoping to God that no spirits were left flying around in the chimney somewhere. At one point the temperature must have skyrocketed, because I was very warm and needed the fan on, but I wasn’t about to get off the bed…not risking a hand shooting out and grabbing my leg. Normally, I’m not like that, but so far that night I couldn’t get past it.

“Honey,” I shake my husband and ask sweetly, “don’t you need to get up and go to the bathroom?”

“No.”

“I know you do. You reeeally need to go to the bathroom,” I stated it like I was swaying a watch on a chain in front of his face.

“No, I don’t.” He turns toward me, “Why do you want me to go to the bathroom?”

“Because I’m hot and I need the fan on and I’m scared there is a boogie man under the bed.”

He chuckled and turned back over. “Go to bed, Michelle.”

I did amuse myself thinking of ways to get him up: gagging, possibly tossing back and forth. Screaming.  Somewhere around prayer number 121, I started giggling at myself; softly of course, I didn’t want to wake Larry up. Then, I giggled again at that thought. Here I am, in this great place, awake at four in the morning for nothing more than irrationality. (Well, really it was all due to a movie I saw when I was a kid, but still irrational.) I fell asleep soon enough and the rest of that stay was wonderful. More than wonderful! It is a lovely place to rest and renew (after the first night, anyway!)

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Back to the story, do I believe God allowed circumstances to happen to direct us away from helping a group of His children through the flood to helping just two? Absolutely! That group was just fine without us. We had a purpose to share our testimony of love, forgiveness and renewing with that other couple. And we all four sat and cried together…at a balloon festival. They knew God orchestrated all of that just for them. In that, we felt renewed and…yes, joy. We also learned, sitting on a swing under a tree, that taking time out, together, is needed regularly.

I realized also that finding joy, in every circumstance, isn’t bad. Of course, I don’t want to jump up and down in front of others going through difficulty, but in my own circumstance I can find the joy. God wants me to find the joy. I thought of the people in the recovery room again, in a new light: One lady was telling her father that he needs to just relax, take it easy for a while, enjoy the rest of his life and try to be happy with the time he has left. Another woman was telling her husband that he needed to stop worrying about their house flooding and be thankful his ulcers are treatable. They, too, were focusing on the good.

One of my greatest joys is in the relationship I have with my husband. People say we are michelle_jester_blog 882126so much alike…but really, we are not. He’s the level headed one and I’m excitable. He’s logical, I’m emotional. We conflict, just like our personalities do, but he’s also the yin and I’m the yang. Together with all of our pieces we make up the perfect puzzle. He’s the one that laughed at me through the pre-colonoscopy experience, which made me laugh. I’m the one who made him gag just for fun…that didn’t make him laugh, but it did make me laugh, and he didn’t get mad at me for it. That’s still funny.

That weekend away was a renewing for us. We needed it, more because we did have so much to do. We needed to see that no matter my how busy life gets or how much work there is that needs to be done, or how many boogie men you think might be under the bed, we can find the joy in our circumstances knowing that God directs our steps. Also, that we all need a break.

Seems to me, the colonoscopy wasn’t too bad either. I lost 8 lbs. My husband said “See, I’ve been right all along, you are full of it!”

Just waaaait…his turn is next.

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Death, Family, Friends, Louisiana, Louisiana Flood, Louisiana Flood 2016, murder, tragedy, triumph, Uncategorized

Flood, Murder, and Louboutins

When I told my husband goodbye in our foyer as the water was rising and we were rushing to evacuate, I felt that familiar uncertainty and fear of not knowing when I would see him again. Any time he deployed I’ve felt it. This time though I felt despair, fear, even a little hurt and anger. I was saying goodbye because he wasn’t leaving the house or pets. My stubborn husband, the one who ordered my daughter and me to leave, was staying. I didn’t have time to process every feeling I had, so we waded through the water to my brother-in-law’s truck and headed out of town. Alexis, who was visiting for the weekend, started crying in the backseat as we drove away. That did it for me and I started crying also. The water was rising so quickly we didn’t even know if we’d make it through the driveway.

Just two weeks before, I was stuck in traffic coming home from visiting my daughter in New Orleans. I could see police and firetrucks ahead and knew it was an accident. Suddenly, out of nowhere I started crying. Not the trickle I-can-recover-this-when-the-light-changes kind, Alexis Instagram2the full on screaming kind. Less than a month before, one of Alexis’ best friends was murdered in cold blood only a few blocks from her apartment after spending the day before together. A couple of months before that Alexis and I found a close family member after he’d committed suicide. So, I had spent the day with my daughter wondering if this would break her.

Now, only a couple of weeks later as we drove through the community watching it flood, I thought of my husband’s grandmother. Something important to know about Mawmaw Lock is that she tells stories that usually inspire two thoughts simultaneously: How blessed we are and how important the things we have are; and how blessed we are and how unimportant the things we have are.

A year and a half ago my in-laws moved Mawmaw Lock from her small town in which she’d lived for 55 years to be closer to all of us so we can better look after her. Mawmaw asked if I’d bring her to visit her old church. In trying to ‘prepare’ me she said “These aren’t folks like ones you are probably used to.” but I quickly interjected “As long as they don’t bite the heads off snakes, I’m good.” So, I dressed in one of my best suits; donned one of my favorite pair of shoes and off we went. I really didn’t know what to expect other than it was a church she’d been going to for years and she’d said it was small. While I was parking in the compact, grassy area I caught myself thinking that “small” was such a huge understatement.

When Mawmaw introduced me to the church members, which only consisted of around a dozen, they not only hugged me in Michelle Jester Blog 667554004earnest but knew who I was. Some asked about Larry, others about my kids. I felt like I was sitting on the front porch with family. Mawmaw held the hymnal in her lap and we sang together. Then the service, a simple and quick one, was about being yourself with God. Your true self. One of the scriptures to back up the service was about coming to God in “spirit and in truth.” Simple enough I thought, at first. I’m myself with God. God knows it all anyway, right?

But the more I pondered over that one scripture sitting in that small church in that small town with that small congregation, the more I realized I had barriers. Not intentional ones, just life ones. I always thank God for blessing me, thank Him for my kids and husband; you know all of the things I truly mean. I pray for forgiveness, for all of the people on my prayer list and over issues in my own life. I’m sure to ask God in what direction He wants me to go. Only, once all the thanks were given and all issues were prayed about what was left between me and God?

I’m reminded of a character out of a novel I read years ago. The novel was about a woman who was raised in high class wealth and propriety yet she finds her true freedom in the working class. At first I felt her pain as she watched everything she owned burned during the Chicago fires. I wondered what would possibly become of her since she was basically left with nothing. Everything she owned, every dress, every pair of shoes, jewelry, cash, her Michelle Jester Blog 667554005whole life was burned and she was left with only the clothes on her back. To add to her trouble she was kidnapped leaving her all but ruined for any decent man to want. She was truly destitute. I cried during those parts and couldn’t see a way out for her. Everything she had, including her reputation, was gone. Soon though, I began to feel her triumph when she started to build a life from nothing. She worked hard and found her place in a community she never would’ve imagined she’d belong. She finds her freedom in the fact that she doesn’t have to hold herself to all the ridiculous standards of society. I somewhat envied her freedom.

I’ve learned more recently than ever before that there is a base side of us, a vulnerable and real side that simply needs the basics. That side values people Michelle Jester Blog 667554001dand life. That side brings every human being to the same level. No matter where they work or who they are. No matter what color or sexual orientation they are. That side is the side that when someone is rushed through the doors of an emergency room the shoes they are wearing don’t make a difference. That’s the side God wants. He wants our raw, vulnerable self. That was the most difficult part for me and sitting in that quaint church I realized it was just pride.

So back to two weeks before the flooding when I was stuck in traffic, hysterically crying in my car after visiting my daughter, I lifted my head to look out of my window and saw the most breathtaking sight. It was a cemetery. One I’d passed many, many times. This time though it was so beautiful with sunbeams shining through the clouds above it that I instinctively stopped crying at the beauty of it. I grabbed my phone and took this photo.

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I am prompted to recognize, more than ever, that this world is fleeting. All that truly matters is my relationship with God and how God can use me to love others through it.

I think often about that little country church, especially the last few days. In that church a pair of red bottom shoes was worthless to them and in that moment I sat there feeling they were just as worthless to me. Also, when we were leaving in such a rush to evacuate, none of those things I left behind in my house mattered, except my family.

Screenshot_2016-08-20-22-58-16aaaaThere are a couple of things that will stay with me long after this disaster is over. One is how incredible people are. Louisianians stepped up immediately, not only in rescue efforts but also to feed and provide emergency supplies to anyone in need. Once the water started to recede it seemed every few blocks there was a station set up with free food, water, clothing and toiletries. I’ve seen the best in people from across the state who packed up immediately to come down here and help.

It is astounding.

Another is how strong we are. I thought my daughter was on the brink of a true nervous breakdown just weeks before. Then I saw her rise up and gain strength through the evacuation. I saw my stubborn husband determined to stay behind. He didn’t know how bad it would get but he was unwilling to leave our animals. That is something I’ll admire always.

The other thing is that right before we evacuated My father in law thought while most of us were together we needed to pray. So he prayed: “God we love You. We ask that you protect our family wherever we are, so that we can come together again. God we praise You. We aren’t asking You to protect our homes or cars because we know so many have already lost and we are no more deserving than anyone else. We ask for Your blessing so we may handle what’s coming. In Jesus name, Amen.”

I’m impacted still with the amount of damage our areas suffered. Although it got close, our house didn’t take on water, but we knew we still had a long road ahead because most of our neighbors, community and surrounding communities did flood.  I can see it all around me that people have a new perspective on life. Through this tragedy many of us learned just how blessed we are and how important the things we have are; and how blessed we are and how unimportant the things we have are.  

And when I saw my husband again I just hugged him and cried.

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“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” -John 4:23-24

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Friends, laugh, love, Relationships, Uncategorized, Women

Something Simple That Most Men Don’t Know About Women

I recently went on a Girl’s Day with some of my closest friends. Most men (especially those without a sister) think of Girl’s Day and automatically picture a host of women lined up in a spa getting their nails done or sitting around bashing their mates and complaining about their children. However, the truth is for most women it’s different every time (and this is not “the something simple most men don’t know about women”). We might watch movies on the couch, WEARING CLOTHING (most men DO know that, they just don’t want to admit it to themselves), go to lunch, have a drink, do whatever task needs to be done, to include yes, sometimes getting our nails done.

On a recent day together we had a purpose: shopping for a wedding venue for my best friend and sister. She is 47 (older, of course) and never been married. As you can guess all of us girls are ecstatic for the happy couple! We hop in the car with coordinating clothing (not “the thing” and in this case not even on purpose). We go to the first venue. This one had such great reviews so we were all excited. However, being that women are critical about stuff like this (no, not “it”) we naturally inspected every inch of the indoor facility. It came up short on many levels to include the most important for women: atmosphere (also not “the thing”). The venue coordinator then gave us directions to the amphitheater where the ceremonies take place. There…we all fell in love. It was a beautiful sunny yet crisp Louisiana winter day. The temperature was perfect at around 70°F with a slight breeze. For women temperature and ambiance mean a lot (again…not “it”). However, if you are thinking of asking a woman to marry you, all I’m saying is choose the atmosphere wisely.

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As a professional photographer, what would I naturally do in this perfect atmosphere? Start taking selfies of course! Soon my friends were laughing because they know me well and because they also know how to keep my vanity in check. Am I super vain? If you are asking me, of course I always say no. I’m just confident and happy with myself. Could I stand to lose that last 40lbs the doctor has been on me about for the last few years? (More like 80lbs per Ideal Height and Weight Chart) Yes! Am I going to be unhappy until I make that happen? No. Although, I must say that when I look in the mirror I don’t really see an overweight person like many women do (still not “it”). Am I blind? No, just a realist…I don’t have to be skinny to be beautiful.

After a lengthy round of selfies I asked one of the girls to take a few shots of me. This place was great and I really needed a new social media profile photo. a few minutes later, she busted out laughing at something behind me. I turned to find the other girls being sarcastic behind me by striking enthusiastic poses. Penance for my taking so many photos.

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Ok, so girlfriends know how to keep us in check on it all: vanity, anger, negativity…anything really. (Nope, not “it” but stay with me because “it” is close.)  It didn’t take long for my friends to join in the merriment of the selfie with me (aka group selfie or usie). This was fun and real!

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This sparked a special memory for me with another best friend, Yvette. Years earlier, many years, she and I dressed up in ridiculous make-up and mismatched clothes and went in hunt of traffic jams. Michelle Jester and Yvette clowning around 1989 3aWe found quite a few and had enormous amounts of fun. We giggled and sang and rode with the windows down all day. I’m surprised we didn’t cause an accident or two but when you’re 19 you aren’t thinking of things like that. She and I have had many fun times through the years but this one I actually have a picture to prove it.

Now to get to “it”, truly “the thing”, I’m going to flash back again to when I was at another best friend’s house. A younger boy showed up to visit with my friend’s younger brother. Tanya and I had been acting silly, playing music and dancing when he showed up. Luckily, it didn’t stop the fun. We giggled until we cried, as we normally did when we were together. Soon, I found myself in the kitchen in desperate need of water when he stopped me by saying, “My image of you is totally blown.” I tried to hide my smile as he went on to tell me what I’d heard Michelle Jester, Delisa and Tanya clowning around 1990 1aso many times before; that he and his friends always saw me at school and thought I was so mature. My reply was “And?” He just stood there with a blank expression on his face which made Tanya and I start laughing again. Finally, he expressed his shock at seeing me act so silly. He said had he known I was so ‘normal’ he would’ve talked to me years earlier. Tanya explained through tears and laughter that all women are silly but we just don’t share that with everybody (yes! This is “it”). Soon he was laughing with us and we all had a great day together.

Over the years I’ve been blessed to have many wonderful girlfriends. Several are best friends I’ll have for the rest of my life. The ones I don’t talk with often are no less close to my heart than they are when we do. All of those women have one important thing in common, it’s “the thing”, we are all silly and childish. We remind each other that life is not about all the problems. While the problems might be what help us grow and become wiser, the problems are also what can weigh us down and make us serious, foreboding and often bitter. When we are together it’s not about how important we are to the community or how successful in our careers we are or how famous either of us are or are not. It’s not about how serious we want to be taken or how many walls we’ve built to keep out pain or disappointment. It’s the opposite of those things. It’s simple. It’s being silly and frivolous. It’s reminding each other that we can be just ourselves and we are accepted for just that.

For the married man who thinks his wife is getting a little fussy? Send her off with her friends for a Girl’s Day!

For the single guy who really just wants to talk to that beautiful single girl…picture her making a funny fishy face with her friends; giggling and being silly.

This girl…

Alexis Jester 20022010_22342001

 

Is also this girl…

Alexis Jester 20022010_22342002

She is the every woman.

We are all silly. Most of us don’t show “it” to everybody. But find that part of the woman and love “it”. That’s the special part.

Michelle Jester Screenshot of Instagram Post for BLOG

 

DASH DASH

Rejoice always, -1 Thessalonians 5:16

And I commend joy, for man has no good thing under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun. -Ecclesiastes 8:15

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; -Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. -1 Corinthians 5:8

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. -1 Thessalonians 5:11

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. -1 Peter 4:8

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! -Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

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Who Cares Where It Goes?

Aunt Gail and me at my wedding

Rummaging through some old pictures I came across this one of My Aunt Gail and me at my wedding nearly 22 years ago. She was an award winning Home Economics teacher and Mardi Gras costume maker. My Aunt Gail taught me many aspects about etiquette and basic principles of household; from the simple to the elaborate. She made sure I knew how to hold an intimate brunch or host a 12 course dinner party.

Today, I will share one of those tidbits that I truly didn’t think I cared about when I was younger. After all, who cares where everything goes? Thankfully she was an engaging teacher.

When she first told me that once I heard this, a basis necessity, I’d never forget it – I automatically thought, “I’m going to forget it.” However, I never have and now you never will.

It’s something I see people struggle with frequently; how to always remember a simple place setting.

LEFT has four (4) letters in it, so does FORK; so your fork goes on the left side of the plate.

RIGHT has five (5) letters in it, so do KNIFE and SPOON; they go on the right side of the plate.

In alphabetical order = fork, knife, spoon.

The sharp side of the knife faces the plate, so that when one reaches for their spoon they won’t risk cutting themselves.

Glasses go to the top right of the plate as most people are right handed.

It’s that SIMPLE!!place setting ad simple

Now, some of you are surely thinking, “Wow, she posted on how to set a table?” and I might have even annoyed some of you with this bit of advice.  …Oh, but one day, whether you are setting your table for an intimate gathering of friends or an important business dinner, you will remember my Aunt Gail and me.  😉

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Remember the Good Stuff…

duckie braclet

Most people who know me know I love Rubber Duckies.  I don’t collect them; I don’t want 100 Rubber Duckies dressed in different clothing showing up in my mailbox. However, Rubber Duckies do make me feel happier. It seems silly really, I know, but anything that makes us happier in this life is well worth a little silliness. Maybe the silliness is part of it. I wear a charm bracelet every day with only a Rubber Duckie on it. It prompts me to think on things that are good; innocence, relationships, fun, whimsy, spontaneity, and fond memories. When people notice it, they usually smile. I often get the statement “I would never have expected you to wear a Rubber Duckie bracelet.” – And that always makes me smile.  I hope everyone has something that encourages them to remember the good stuff…
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