Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Friend Series: Happy Birthday Janet!

Friend, I know you hate birthday's but this had to be done! Good thing it is a one time deal on Just Jules.

As I have gotten older, I've found the world is a small place and you never quite know where life will take you. Three years ago, I read an article about Janet in our hometown newspaper, I was really excited to see her name and what she was about to do. Two years ago this fall, I was introduced to her via Twitter and she changed my life. Funny how someone I looked up to as a young girl, one day became my dear friend.

Two summers ago, this is what I looked like. I was seriously overweight, my highest weight ever. After years of Marty being sick, I had stopped taking care of myself while taking care of everyone else.

A few months later, one night on Twitter during a conversation, I asked someone if Janet was still trying for her Olympic comeback? One minute later, Janet herself was tweeting me thanks for the support. I told her ''Us O.C. girls have to stick together'' one tweet later, she invited me to come swim with her. I was floored! One of the greatest U.S. Olympic heroes of all time asked me to swim with her? I was a swimmer back in high school and college. One day, I just stopped swimming and progressively gained weight.

My swim buddies Jenni and Diana, BPHS 1992

Then I met Janet, she was getting up at 4:30 am every morning to swim, train, workout and then swimming again at night. She had two kids under five and was a couple of years older than me. I was inspired! At the time I was getting up at 4:30 to pack Marty's lunch and help him off to work, then I would go back to bed. So every morning, I would get up and workout out in the house on the treadmill and with resistance bands. Then in the afternoon's I would hop on my bike with the kids and ride. The weight started coming off. I would tweet Janet everyday and pray for her as I worked out. 

That December, I went down to LA for a baby shower and someone told Janet I was in town, she sent me a DM on Twitter and told me to come swim with her. I borrowed a pair of goggles, cap and bought a swimsuit drove down to meet Janet in Huntington Beach at 4:30 am. 

December 2011

We got in the pool and I swam a couple of hours with her, 3000 yds that day. I was done, I sat by the side of the pool and watched her swim. How amazing to see a great champion swimming before your eyes, especially with her famous ''windmill stroke''.  We chatted for a bit after swimming, we bonded that day and it was the beginning of a wonderful friendship.

I went home, called the local youth club and joined the team! I met coach Kyler, who helped me regain my form and taught me new things. I made new friends with the moms on the team and even made a new swim partner with another mom Lea. I swam everyday that winter and eventually started working for Kyler in his family business, giving me a much needed job.

Janet and I chatted everyday, I ran a triathlon, Janet went to trials and her bid for London ended. Instead of this ending our chats, they kept on about life in general. We had long switched from tweeting to texting and kept on though no longer workout ''buddies''

Last Christmas, we met up for a girls day out shopping and I got to know her mom and kids. It was one of those days that God reminded me, I have many sisters of the heart and Janet is one. Sometimes, you click with the least expected people in life. You never know who you will click with or not click with. Janet and I just clicked into an easy friendship with a strong bond. She has become a sister of the heart, I always know when someone is one and she is one.

She is one of the most down to earth people I know, she told me to text her, asked to send me a Christmas card and just took me in as friend. I looked up to her during my teen years, she was everywhere in our hometown and a huge deal. She took herself off the pedestal, put her arm around me and started walking alongside. There is no pedestal, there is just a deep, genuine bond. She has an electric smile, hearty laugh and one of the kindest hearts I know. 

She is easy to be around, she is funny, well....funny in my kind of way of funny. She always is making me laugh with her Janet ways! I will tweet her only to hear my text message go off and I laugh knowing it is her! She even asked me blogging advice. ( speaking of is time to get back on that J)

She is a wonderful mom, wife and a great friend. 

Happy Birthday Janet and Jake, she shares the day with her son Jake

During my move, she has texted me and checked in often. She was rooting for Marty to get a job, she asks about the kids and does all those things a wonderful sister would do. To say I love her, is truly an understatement, she is part of my heart and family now.

Janet, it was your courage to do something out of your box and take a leap, that encouraged me to take my own leap. In some ways, you saved my life and gave me the inspiration to start over. You helped me start getting fit, lose forty lbs and regain my life long love for swimming. Not only that, you've given me love, friendship, encouragement and sisterhood when I have needed it most. You are by far one of the blessings I count in my life. I look forward to our future adventures and seeing where life takes us both. No matter what, you've got a friend in me. Wishing you a very happy birthday, I love you my friend, Jules

PS here is a picture of me, two years later and still working on my weight loss. I am still swimming, riding and running. Thanks to my other Twitter friends ''The Momma's'' who have helped along the way as well.

Monday, August 26, 2013

MTTMB: And the First Becomes the Last

Time has arrived to wind this series down, I added a couple songs and extended the series unintentionally. Inspiring and Empowered women to be shared and enough talking about myself (ha!) for a few weeks. I've only briefly shared about these two songs before and wanted to write about them for the series.

When I was a little girl, my Dad rocked me to sleep every night in our white rocking chair. He would hold us tightly and sing two songs, after telling us the story of ''Orangeylocks and the Three Purple Bears'' his version of Goldilocks. Every night, it was the same three songs over and over, the standard ''Rock-a-bye Baby'' and then two of his favorites.

The first song was only a few bars, or so I remember. My aunts always say, ''the girls fell asleep out of self defense'' so he may have sang more and I don't remember because I quickly fell asleep. The first bar is always in my head, ''I hear the whipporwhills whispering above, Tammy, Tammy, Tammy's in love'' he would sing the theme song from ''Tammy'' to us every night.

I never watched the Tammy movies until a few years ago.I finally found them on TMC and stayed up all night watching them all. I love those movies but moreso I love the song because it reminds me of being rocked to sleep every night.

The signature rocking song was one that I am sure he grew up hearing as well. My Gramps had a love of Gene Autry, he was his hero and he loved all things associated with Gene. So this song reminds me of both Dad and Gramps. Everynight this was the sign off song, if I didn't fall asleep to Tammy, this was the song I heard. ''From this valley they say you're going, I will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile''

It was such an important song, it is the song he danced with my sister Carrie to at her first wedding. There wasn't a dry eye in the room including Dad's because he had no clue she had picked that song to dance to. It was a wonderful moment that we will remember forever.

"But remember the Red River Valley and the cowboy who loved you so true''

So as I have now put you all to sleep, I hope you've enjoyed the trip down memory lane with me and learning more about my life. This series is something I look forward to all year long and is truly something that has helped me overcome my pre-birthday anxiety. Looking forward to the second installment in the inspiring women series on the 28th.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Love Your Friend Day

''I love you friends, you mean the world to me and when you hurt, I hurt too''

Recently many friends have come to me sharing heavy burdens. It seems like one after another friends are struggling through rough times. My heart has been very heavy laden lately from the sadness around me from friends. I am so thankful to be able to share in their burdens and help make their load a little lighter.

Proverbs 18:24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
    but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
As I have my prayer time each day, the list seems to grow longer and longer. Thankfully my own prayer list is very short and it is my pure joy to pray for my friends. Last year I had two friends that I was committed to praying for on different journeys. One finished her journey while another one continued on her journey. Earlier this year, I commited to praying for a friend daily as their job called them out of the country. It has been a joy to pray for this friend each morning and be a supporter.

Being a sounding board, listener and friend is truly one of my callings in life. It is one of the things I love the most and enjoy doing. Sometimes it is really easy and sometimes it is really hard. Right now, with so many I love struggling, it is a hard time. One where I can feel the full weight of the burdens and my heart is heavy. This song really speak for my heart for my friends right now

Friends, I am so thankful for each of you. I am privileged to have so many wonderful friends in life. I decided today that I would tell you each I love you. There are so many of you, that would take me weeks to do on an individual basis. So I am sending a giant hug, love and prayers for those who need them.

I would love prayer in return for strength to help carry the burdens for others.
Romans 12:12 ''Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.''

Praying for my friend's health crisis, friends with ill parents, friends with struggles at home, friends looking for new jobs, friends making big decisions, friends struggling with loved ones, and for friends that are well and happy.
 photo d8ea72a1-c867-40d1-8494-0f118636c8f2_zps4b810387.jpg
Inscription found in a hiding place of Jews during the holocaust


Friday, August 23, 2013

MTTMB Series: ''La la la Tonight''

We all know the story by now, in the summer of 1989 I fell in love with a blue eyed boy from Boston and the group he was in NKOTB. I spent hours talking about them, my room was covered floor to ceiling with pictures from BOP. My Dad took me to see my first concert that winter and I cried the whole time especially when Joe sang, '' I'll Be There''. I fought over him with my cousin Rissa and friend Christena. I bought their first album and any other that came out. It was heaven!

Halloween, I dressed up like Joe with my friends dressing up as their favorite New Kid. I even took a BOP picture of Joe on my 8th grade Washington D.C. trip! I wore a New Kids shirt everyday my 8th grade year only to be mercilessly made fun of but I could've cared less. I was a girl in love......

Fighting a boy to not steal my Joe picture!


When their second album came out, I was already in high school and slowly moving on. I still went to see the Magic Summer Tour with my friend Jackie and Kelli at Dodgers Stadium. Somewhere there are pictures of that...Jackie? Kelli? I know one of us has them. Anyways, I was in high school and didn't wear the shirts much anymore. I was never really a pop music fan anyways and slowly moved back to my roots of New Wave and Alternative.

Fast forward to 2008 and the triumphant return of NKOTB. Giddy tweeting back and forth with my best friend Andrea about the return. Sadly facing the fact I may never see them again or so it seemed. Then as we all know last year that all changed. I got to meet NKOTB not just once but twice! I got to see them in concert now three times.

Each time was so special. The one thing I love is the song, '' Tonight'' originally released on the Step by Step Album in 1990. It was a song to their fans about the past few years of touring and their relationship with fans. At the time, it was a hit and was a great song even then. But for me and I think many other fans, the song means so much more as a 30 something woman. How prophetic were those lyrics? a song written in 1990 would mean so much more in 2013. A lot of life was lived by them and their fans, the relationship became so much more for so many.

I have met some wonderful fans who've had the most amazing experiences. I have made wonderful friends all around the world. I have come to respect these five men from Boston, who love their fans like no other band I have ever loved ( well Curt Smith from Tears for Fears is the exception, he is wonderful to us Kooks) They really go the extra mile for fans and sacrifice so much of their family life.

When I first heard them sing this song again at the Mixtape Festival, I got the chills and cried. ''Remember when we said, ''Girl Please Don't Go'' and how I'd be ''Loving You Foreeeeever'' taught ya about ''Hangin Tough'' as long as you've got ''The Right Stuff''

The lyrics incorporating their old song titles and talking about remembering when? now as an adult it takes me back to junior high and the wonderful memories. As a young girl, I could've never imagined being friends with other fans and traveling all over the country to see the band. I met them in California for the first time but have only seen them in concert in Pennsylvania and Georgia.

I would say  not only does this song mean more to me now than ever but this band means more to me than ever. It has become so much more than just a girl loving five bad boys from Boston. It has become about friendship and love with a group of amazing women. This is for all my Blockhead sisters around the world. It's been 25 years and I don't see a thing ever changing for me. I am a Blockhead for life.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

MTTB: ''We're Here, We're Early and We Have No Plaid''

This morning, I was sitting on my porch listening to the cicadas, squirrels throwing nuts out of the trees and listening to Pandora. A song came on the radio that immediately transported me back to July 28, 1993. It was a warm summer day in Southern California, the sun was shining and I was spending the day at my Gramie's house. Per normal, I was listening to KROQ and heard a blip to call in for tickets to the premiere of the movie, ''So I Married an Axe Murderer'' that night in Hollywood.

I am not being cocky, I am telling you a simple truth, I only had to think about winning tickets on KROQ and could. It was a weekly thing for me to go completely free to shows and events for free. I could win tickets to anything, fast finger speed dialer! So I obtained a set of tickets but needed to figure out a way to Hollywood. Now my friend Ruben loved SNL like I did and he had a car! I called him and invited him to be my guest that night. He agreed quickly and set out to come pick me up.

 We spent every Saturday night watching the show memorizing every word. Then he, our friends Shawn, Justin, Rico and I would spend the rest of the week quoting the episodes back to each other. Cheeky Monkey's!

The SNL cast in the 90's was one of the best ever. Chris Rock, David Spade, Chris Farley, Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey amongst others. I was so excited that maybe we could see them in person together. I made a quick phone call to Ruben, ran down the street and raided my sister Carrie's closet and waited for Rube to pick me up.

We had to drive to KROQ in Glendale then head to Hollywood to the premiere. We left immediately so we could find our way. We got to KROQ, got the invite and read it voraciously. Then a line on the bottom caught our eye, ''wear plaid''.....we looked at each other, looked at what we were wearing and we were certainly not wearing plaid. Now those who know me, know I wore a plaid skirt almost everyday of my high school career in 1993. I had borrowed a light green hombre baby doll top, jean shorts and Birkenstocks from my sister that day. I was trying to look ''normal'' for my Hollywood night out.

A quick sightseeing trip around Hollywood was our first order of business

Driving through the hills to find the Hollywood sign while looking at some of my favorite homes of old Hollywood. I have a minor obsession with Los Feliz, Hollywood Hills and Beverly Hills. I think this is from years of going on jobs with my Dad and seeing those homes. I can tell you were a house is located in a papparazzi pic just by looking at it.

''We're here, We're Early and We have no Plaid''

We went to stores on Melrose and Hollywood Blvd looking for plaid. Only to realize, we were there, we were early and we had no plaid. This would become our ''inside'' joke for years to come. So we went to stand on the red carpet until we would be let in to the premiere.

When it was time, they ushered us into a theater with the entire cast of SNL plus other Hollywood types of the time. The movie was hysterical an instant cult classic and we enjoyed the experience completely. After the movie we were informed there was a party downstairs and we were invited. Here we are two 17 year old kids, invited to a Hollywood bash. We stuck out like sore thumbs as we walked into the party they handed us a poster and a cassette tape of the movie soundtrack. We skulked over to a corner table to hide out and watch. Immediately we spotted Chris Farley in a plaid suit talking to Lou Diamond Phillips. On the inside, we were squealing.

As we drove home in Rube's Buick, we listened to the soundtrack. From that day on, when I heard this song by LA's. I am immediately taken back to the summer before our senior year, a car ride to LA and rubbing elbows with Hollywood stars. Our senior year would test my friendship with Rube, we had some rough times but the best memory of that year was our night in LA together. It's a great soundtrack that I still love to listen to twenty years later. ( I told Rube that this morning on Twitter and he mentioned the number of years and I told him NOT to repeat it. What did I do? repeated it)

Rube and I still talk. He actually read my entire blog this past year and has been very supportive of my writing. He has helped me with coding at times and feedback. I love that we tweet now instead of creatively writing notes on odd objects. He once wrote me a note on a cassette tape and I wrote him a note on an orange peel.

Thanks for going back with me. I have one more song in the series and then will be moving on to inspiring, empowered women for the rest of the month. I am excited to share their stories and hopefully be a positive light for others.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

MTTB Series: The Knack of Reality Bites

For My Jennay, Christena and my cousins:

This blog had already been planned, I was tweeting with my daily music group on Twitter about it this week and this morning one of my favorite tweeps mentioned something that made the blog come spilling out across the page.

The winter of 1994, I sat in a theater and watched a movie that I highly identified with in fact, I ended up dragging everyone person I knew to watch that movie as the summer months wore on because it was at the dollar theater. Friends, cousins, anyone who would go with me. The soundtrack was played on loop endlessly in my car, my bedroom, my friends cars, I was obsessed. It was the first movie that I ever identified with so strongly though it really didn't match anything in my life at the time.

Jules circa 1994

The character played by Winona Ryder was a mix between me and my friend Christena. She reminded me of us and our style at the time. We were kind of her and she was kind of us. I think Christena will understand what I mean by this statement. I actually am a bit more like the Jeanne Garofalo character...except I am a goody two shoes.

There is a scene in the movie, where the group of friends goes to the gas station to get food. Lanie's dad had given her a gas card for graduation and they could charge the snacks. As they are in the gas station, the song ''My Sharona'' comes across the radio in the store. What happens next is one of my favorite scenes in a movie..ever ( and no, I have never smoked pot in my life, so don't think I was a stoner because people really? me a stoner? I am crazy enough without drugs)

Now I had heard this song before, it meant nothing to me. Every single time that I have heard this song since seeing this movie, I have immediately thought of this scene and did the same exact dance Jeanne does in the film. Now granted, I already danced this way before. Truly, this is my dance that I do whenever I dance, so sad but so true. I am a nerd, I admit it.

When my friend Jenni got married, I wanted to dance to this song at her wedding. When my cousin Rissa got married, all of the cousins got out on the dance floor and re-enacted the scene together. It is one of our songs. My cousin Jill loves this movie after me insisting she watch it a few years ago, she was too young the first time around.

Jenni and I 1994

Marty and I circa summer of 1994

One morning this week, I was sad after receiving some upsetting news about a friend. I shared the song with my twitter song group and said we needed to do this on a road trip someday. Then this morning, one of my favorite tweeps Nicole, said she cannot hear this song without doing the little ''Carlton'' dance .  It was time for this blog to come out and be shared!

I really don't identify with the lyrics of the song. It is all about the tune and the way it makes me feel. It takes me back to a time long ago; For me, when I hear this song, I go back to the summer of 1994, friends, college, new love and life being lived. I think of my childhood, friends and family. Of course, I really just love to bop around the room to this song being carefree and dancing, it makes me happy and cheers me up!

A/N: For my readers who are using Bloglovin, now you can add my blog to your feed! Thanks Flo for the heads up!Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Friday, August 16, 2013

Guest Blog: The Caring Sister in Law

 Today's Guest Blog starts off the inspiring, empowering women series. Given to me by a friend, who wanted to honor her sister in law and what she did for her during a trying time. Truly a heartwarming story that reminds us all to take time to care.

My sister in law is 16 years younger than me. She and my brother started dating, became serious and married during the five years I lived out of state, so they were well established by the time I moved home. Having only met Bri a few times before moving home, I had a fair amount of trepidation about how we would get along, mostly due to the age difference. I don’t always relate well to the generation that was born straight into the matrix of modern technology; those who have no idea what it’s like to have a face to face conversation without also having a text conversation with someone else while posting their every action on fb at the same time (I’m not an old fuddy-duddy, but I do believe in manners, and find those actions a bit rude at times). Bri is “one of those”, but as I came to find out, she is thankfully so much more.

My Grandparents, mostly my Grandmother, spent from early June 2011 to November 2011 in and out of the hospital, and I was their power of attorney and primary caregiver. It was an extremely stressful period, as I had a few other negative and time-consuming things going on in my life concurrently (they say when it rains, it pours; well, 2011 was a full-blown monsoon.). By the time the hospital visits and serious health issues started, I had learned that as goofy and fun loving and young as she is, Bri is, in fact, a very responsible person. She is also one of those people who instinctively knows how to act; she can lighten a mood without being inappropriate, and she is serious when the situation calls for it. My brother is slightly lacking in the dependability department and does a poor job of returning phone calls and texts (to be fair, much of his time is taken up by work), so Bri had become my go-to person when making family plans or even when I needed to communicate something important to my brother.

 Therefore when the hospital visits started, I called Bri. Every time one of my Grandparents wound up in the hospital, I called her. Every time she asked me if I needed her to come. Every time I told her no. Every time, she showed up at the hospital 20 minutes later. Every single time. I can’t emphasize that enough: EVERY SINGLE TIME. Did I need her there? No, I could handle the medical stuff on my own. Did I WANT her there? Hell yes, but she lived 30 minutes away, worked part-time, and was in an accelerated nursing program, so she had very little free time. There was no way I was going to ask her to give up time she should have been studying or the precious little time she had to relax, no matter how much I wanted her there for the moral support. But she did it anyway. Every time.

She checked on me often, to see if my grass needed mowed or if my dogs needed to be let out and fed. She was the only one who recognized how stressed and overwhelmed I was, the only one to ask me if I was doing okay. She visited whichever grandparent was in the hospital almost daily. And she was the one who was there with me in the hospital for six hours when my grandfather was admitted, after being yet again told by me not to come because the doctors said it was nothing serious, only leaving at 11pm when I did, 3+1/2 hours before his unexpected death. By the time he died, my Grandfather had gone from believing Bri had married my brother to escape a bad home life and to have someone put her through school, to introducing her to everyone as his granddaughter, which was huge.

 Bri never said “Call me anytime if you need anything”. She never once told me “I’ll be there for you”. She never uttered the words “I care”. Yet today, I know I can call her for anything, anytime. I know without a doubt she’ll be there for me. And I know she cares. I know all that not because of words, but because of actions. Because she was there for me every time I needed someone, and even sometimes when I didn’t realize I needed someone. I’ve always been a big believer of “actions speak louder than words”, but even more so now. I’m also now a big believer in “don’t say it if you don’t mean it”. I had people who did say all that to me, and guess what? They weren’t there. Not really. Mostly only when it was convenient for them, not when I really needed them.

Caring isn’t in the words; caring is in the actions, big and little. Caring is making the sacrifice and being there when it’s least convenient for you. Caring is the friend who texts me a picture of my favorite flower for no reason other than it made her think of me. Caring is my Grandparents’ neighbors, who work long hours yet selflessly gave their time to the old folks next door, whether just to keep them company for the heck of it or spending their entire day off fixing a leaky pipe in someone else’s house. Caring is Bri, who did so much for me and my Grandparents at times that were incredibly inconvenient for her. Everybody wants that kind of friend, the friend who is so giving, but no one wants to BE that kind of friend and give that much. That type of person is few and far between, so if you ever find someone like that, hold on to them. And don’t tell them you care. Show them.

PS. I’m proud to say that Bri did very well in school, is excelling in her new career as an RN, and she and my brother are still happily married. J

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

MTTB Series: The Name Game

Deanna Fanna Bofanna fe fi fo fanna, this blog is for you

Everyday in high school,I would sing this song to my good friend Deanna. It was our little game, one of many that have with several  different friends. You see, I have this thing......I am a serial nicknamer. I love to have nicknames for my friends. 

My friend Staci is ''Foxy Momma''
My cousin Brianne is ''B-Annie''
My NKOTB friends. '' LL Fancy'', ''KTDQ'', ''MM'' ''LS"  and the famous ''A2'' 
Twitter friends have a million different nicknames. I call my fitness accountability girls ''Momma'' but I cannot take the credit for that one.

The list goes on and on...........I have a million nicknames for Elizabeth. The whole using the initial thing was actually something I picked up from my friend AB. 

When I meet someone, I vary rarely forget their name or face. This can be awkward at best because most people aren't good with names and faces. Very often, I just pretend like I don't know someone if they don't remember me when we meet again. Lately, the customers at FIG and Co., get shocked when I remember them and their purchases. They love that I remember them and it makes them feel special.

This is attributed to two things in my brain, one being my super memory. My memory is like a giant Rolodex and photographic. It is easy for me to remember names and faces, I didn't ever know this was strange until I was an adult. 

Second, coming from a large family. You automatically have to remember a lot of names when you're in a large family. My family is all very good with names and faces, we remember each others friends and extended families as well. 

Not sure where I picked up this nickname habit. I think it is a way for my brain to remember large numbers of people and make people feel special at the same time. 

I hear this song and automatically think of Deanna and our wonderful high school days. What a special time that brings back fond memories. I heard this song the other day and knew that it had to be part of the MTTB series.

Have fun singing along. Hit me up and challenge me, I am pretty good at this game!


Monday, August 12, 2013

MTTB Series: My Second Signature Song

Sometime between 1992 and 1993, when I was heavily listening to KROQ in L.A., I fell in love with this song. It has become a song that when people hear it, they think of me. My obsession with this song is legendary much to the chagrin of some folk. In fact, the legendary hater of this song is Rob, my friend Lindsey's husband who hates it with a passion. This blog is dedicated to him!

''Too Ra Loo Ra''  the strains of an Irish song mixed with New Wave 80's goodness. What more could a song need? A video with men dancing on the street corner in their overalls? Hello love! this song made me fall hard and fast for its catchy tune and I was ''humming this tune forevermore'' ( I changed the grammar of the lyric to suit myself there)

This song just makes me inexplicably happy! It is kind of like my first favorite song ''Everybody Wants to Rule the World'' when people hear it, they message me, call me or think of me. This song is a song that everyone knows I love.

The beat makes me happy the minute I hear the opening, makes me want to get up and dance.Imagine my shock when my friend Rob said he hates this song! How could anyone hate this song? There is something wrong if you hate cheesy, 80's British new wave! It's a crime against New Wave.

A few years ago, I bought my kids a sing along game on the Playstation just because this song and EWTRTW were on the game. Imagine my surprise when I read one of the lyrics, I had no clue what they said in some places.  It made me start paying closer attention to the music I listen to and what the lyrics really say.

I wonder if anyone can guess my favorite line in this song? I highly doubt it and I probably wouldn't confess it even if you did!

It has been twenty minutes of listening to this song on loop. Last fall my boss Kyler put this song on the Lunchbox playlist for me. I listened to it at least ten times a day for months and never got tired of it. Now I am gone and when they hear it, they think of me. One of my little calling cards in life.

''At this moment, you mean everything'' that is how I feel about this song. It means everything and nothing to me all at the same time. Just a happy go lucky tune that fits my personality well!

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Vault

I have this funny nickname given to me by several friends, they call me ''The Vault'' because of my listening skills and super memory.  A few years ago, Elizabeth said, '' Momma, people always like to talk to you. You make them feel better.'' At the time she was eight or nine years old, it caused me to pause and think about her statement. She is right, people like to talk to me, they feel safe talking to me and I can easily lock away their secrets safely.

Being a talker, you would think that I couldn't be a good listener. The thing is,  I like talking about someone else other than myself all the time. Listening is a skill that causes me to look outside of myself and pause for a moment. It really is a skill that is important in life, far more important than talking all of the time.

Once people found out that I am the vault, they have tried to pry me open and get my secrets to spill. I am lock tight and very rarely spill. My friend said the other day, ''You're like the safety depository at the bank. Lots of little boxes in the vault.'' It is one of the benefits of my crazy memory that serves others well.

Some have asked if it gets wearing? It depends, sometimes it does get tough when someone is struggling with something really heavy. Because I am tenderhearted , I will often cry with the person and feel their pain in an empathetic way.  When my friends and family are hurting, I am hurting as well. That is who I am as a person and I really don't want to change that about myself. I think that is the way it should be!

The funny thing about me being the vault...........I rarely confide in anyone myself. This year, I started realizing that I am not one to open up and share my struggles. I am a person who bears the weight of her own burdens along with the burdens of others. I am working on confiding in others and sharing some of my own burdens instead of carrying them myself.

 I may be a crybaby, sob sister, tender heart but I am one tough mama. I've lived a lot of life starting at a very young age, I have been through stuff that many people would have crumbled under. This life experience, though I often wish it wasn't mine to share is something that makes me a better person and friend.

There have been a few occasions that I have failed at being the vault. One incident two years ago, a burden of a friend became public and caused me much heartache. I had tried to help the friend but the people who knew the burden wouldn't help then when things came to light, everyone was mad at me for not ratting out my friend. It led to me needing to end the friendship because I couldn't handle the fallout associated with it. Not something I do and still something that hurts my heart. I learned a valuable lesson in that case and there was more to it than I can share.

Thankfully those instances are few and far between. I pray for those burdens that I put in my vault, I don't just listen and file away. It is like having a giant rolodex of prayer requests and I love bearing those burdens in love. It is a privilege, a God given gift in my eyes and being able to bear someone else's burden is a precious treasure. Bearing one another's burdens is something the world needs to do more.

Proverbs17:17 A friend loves at all times,
    and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

I heard this song as I was writing and it goes very well with my blog and thoughts on being a friend

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Finding Purpose in the Pain: Fear of Abandonment

Finding Purpose in the Pain: Fear of Abandonment:  Fear of Abandonment by Julie Timms Recently I became aware that I have an issue. I fear being abandoned by my friends. During a coupl... click the link to read more over on Finding Purpose in the Pain.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Guest Blogger: My Love of Baseball

My Twitter follower @HeatherLeigh73 told me she loved my blog and has been inspired to start writing again. Since August is about empowering women on Just Jules, I gave her the chance to share immediately. She is sharing her love of baseball with the readers of Just Jules. Since I am a woman sports fan, I appreciate other women who like sports. 

I am an Angel fan by birthright but really don't follow baseball at all. This is for all the women who love baseball out there.

  My love of baseball started at a young age.  I was born in Cincinnati, OH a couple of years before the Big Red Machine clinched the World Series title two years in a row in both 1975 and 1976. Cincinnati was also the birthplace of the first major league baseball team, the Cincinnati Redlegs.  As a child, my mother attended plenty of Minnesota Twins and San Francisco Giants games. Yes, baseball was definitely in my blood.

I remember growing up and watching quite a few baseball games on our Zenith console TV, that is until the screen imploded. We went four years without a TV. From the time I was 8-12, I read A LOT of books. Most of them were from my mother’s library, and were either Nancy Drew novels, or books about baseball, of course.

As I went through my teenage years, my interest waned a bit, as I was going through “the change.”  My interests also started to change, and I was too busy gawking at posters on my wall of NKOTB, Wil Wheaton and Sean Astin.  Early in my senior year of high school (well before the wonderful invention of the internet), my best friend and I decided to camp out overnight for NKOTB concert tickets.  While camping out, I happened to meet a girl (who I am still in contact with to this day), who not only was a big New Kids fan, but also a fan of baseball. We quickly became friends, and we began going to Cincinnati Reds games together. We would wait in the player’s parking garage before the game to snag autographs and pictures of our favorite players.  We were successful some of the time, and I still to this day, have a shoebox filled with baseball cards, some of them signed.  In fact, I decided to apply for a position with the Cincinnati Reds organization after my first year of college since I was using all of my spending money on tickets.  Shortly after applying, I began my job for the Cincinnati Reds as a concourse/grounds crew assistant.  In a group of about 25, there were only two girls. My main role was to sweep the concourse and clean the stands during the game. If there was a rain delay, we assisted the grounds crew in rolling out the tarp on the field. We cleaned up the dugout after the game (I chewed a lot of Double Bubble that summer), and also got to hang out behind home plate during breaks.  That summer was a turning point in my life. My love of baseball allowed for me to meet my husband, and that summer we started dating.  That’s a story for another time!

I again went through another phase where baseball didn’t play a major role in my life. But as I began having children (I gave birth to two healthy beautiful boys), baseball began to make its way back into my life again. Both of my boys started playing knothole and Little League baseball at a young age, and we began attending a few Reds games as well. When my youngest son was 7, our family moved to Tampa, Florida. The Tampa Bay Rays were a new organization; only 7 years old as well. Attendance at Rays games was abysmal their first 9 years in the Majors.  During the 11th year of their existence, they played in the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.  We were again living in a town where baseball was alive and well.

Fast forward five years later, and my oldest son is now a senior in high school. He plays on his high school baseball team. I am still am a baseball fanatic. It is because of my love of baseball that I started a Twitter account a little over a year ago. Thanks to Twitter, I’ve been able to make some incredible friends and enjoy some wonderful experiences, such as going to a NKOTB concert with a Twitter buddy.  I think it’s safe to say baseball is in my life for good this time. I will be 40 in three weeks, and like to think of myself as a “Tomboy Princess.”  I still like my manicures, pedicures, and hair treatments. But I also love to spend a Saturday night at Tropicana Field rooting for my home team! 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

MTTMB Series: ''A Picture I Don't Like to Look at''

While working today, two songs came on the store Pandora station in succession. I knew it was time to write this blog out, a story only told to a few people and buried away in my heart. There have been bits and pieces shared here and there but not the full story.

Growing up, we moved around a lot. I never really had a childhood home that I remember aside from the homes of my grandparents. Monday thru Friday at my Gramie's house and weekends at my Grandma and Grandpa Brown's even before my parents divorce.  Those were the places I called home in my heart and head. My mom inherited my Gramie's house, so I still can go home which is a wonderful feeling.

In 2006, my Grandparents Brownie and Betty, died eight weeks to the day apart. It was a unbelievable time of loss for our family. Their home in Whittier,CA was the center of our family life. We spent summers swimming in their pool, eating giant family dinners at the two custom picnic tables in the backyard, we played Kids Inc. in front of their garage, knew the neighbors and lived life there.

One of my favorite lines from a book is from Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery,  "When I was a child I heard an old minister say that a house was not a real home until it had been consecrated by a birth, a wedding and a death.''

That home held weddings, bridal showers, christenings, hundreds of birthday parties, swim parties, holidays, new babies, so much life and in the very end, two deaths. Our friends knew the phone number, they could just show up and walk through the door to find Grandma and Gramps at the table in the kitchen. The house was filled with life.

Before the house sold, our family had one last celebration there. We swam, we ate and we reminisced on the happy times.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Our last family picture on the steps of the Brown family home

The next day, I ''ripped'' the band-aid off as my Aunt Patty said and packed my grandparents bedroom set into a U-Haul to come home with me. I had asked for it and was graciously given the opportunity to have it forever. I packed up their room, put it in the U-Haul and walked out the front door for the last time. As I was walking out of the house, I took a picture

That year Jack Johnson had a hit record, I had been introduce to the album by my cousin Sarah. Our family listened to that album non stop. One of the songs, '' Do you Remember'' was a particular favorite. Marty and I were getting ready to celebrate 10 years of marriage that year and the song was perfect. There is a line in the song, '' I took a picture, I don't like to look at.'' 

That is how I feel about the above picture. I don't like to look at the picture because it makes me sad. I took the picture because I wanted to remember that moment forever. Leaving my childhood ''home'' behind and fully growing up in a hard way. ( even though, we all know my super photographic memory already does! I am a nerd) 

As I walked out, I saw two butterflies playing in the flower bed. It reminded me of a time my grandma and I were out in the backyard together. A butterfly landed on my shoulder,  she exclaimed, '' Oh Julie, that is good luck.'' It is something that always comes to mind when I see a butterfly, I always think of her and that moment. It was just a sign, life was moving forward, Grandma and Gramps were together and happy. I was going to be okay.

I clambered into the U-Haul, Marty was driving which was rare, I turned the radio on and ''What a Wonderful World'' came pouring out of the speakers. My Grandparents loved singing old songs, singers and standards. This was a song they both loved. I started sobbing hysterically as Marty pulled away from the curb, it was a moment only God could have written. I sobbed hysterically for over a hundred miles well over the grapevine. It is a moment, one I really don't like to talk or think about. It was one of the worst days of my life.

Today as those two songs came on back to back, I knew it was time to fully share the story and what a better month than August to share it. Finally time to put it down, get it out and put it to rest. When I would go home to visit in Sourthern California, I would drive by their house on Scott ave., it was pure torture driving by and thinking they were inside waiting to see me.

 A really weird feeling that cannot be put into words. I am so thankful for the wonderful memories, summer always makes me think of days spent there and the happy memories that reside in that home.

What lucky new owners to live in a house with 51 years of a happy family life, five kids raised, fourteen grandkids running through the rooms, two great grandkids that loved the house too. Truly a house consecrated by love.

Two songs that take me back to a really bad day, one I don't like to think about or remember. Finally writing it down and letting it go. Truly music that takes me back.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Music That Takes Me Back Series: Chains of Love

For the last two years in August, I have written a series of blogs about the music that I love. You know that song you hear that transports you back to a certain time and place? The minute you hear it, your mind wanders back to how old you were? Where you were? Who was with you? Those songs that make up the fabric of your past. I love choosing the songs and reminiscing about them on my blog. This year, I am also sharing the month of August with inspiring women. I wanted to write a series about women who inspire me and share them with my readers. I have a few blogs lined up as well as a guest blog or two.

''How can I explain, when there are few words I can choose?"

The minute I hear this song, I am immediately transported back to the summer of 1988. I was living in a apartment in Fullerton,Ca with my mom, sister Carrie and nephew Chris. We didn't have much but we had MTV which was my favorite thing to watch. My best friend Abbie lived in the same apartment complex and we would dance around listening to these songs while reading ELLE and talking about fashion.

This was the summer my friend Christena introduced me to my first boyfriend Randy. It was quite an eventful summer for me. First boyfriend, the summer before eight grade, the same year I fell in love with Joe Mc Intyre and New Kids on the Block. It was truly the epitome of being twelve years old in the summer time, '' Days would last forever'' swimming, hanging out with friends, watching MTV and talking on the phone for hours on end.

As the years have waned on, I can tell you this is the first song that ''brought me back'' it was the first song I would hear and immediately be transported back in time. ''Do you remember there was a time?'' that line takes me places and makes me smile.

I love the way this song makes me feel when it comes on. I would venture to say it is the reason this whole series exsists. I can wait to take a journey back this month and reminisce, one of my favorite things to do. I hope you come along on the journey with me.