Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sister: "R" is for Real

Happy Birthday, Jeanette!

"R" is for Real

In my attempt to articulate what I mean by saying that Jeanette is "real", I looked up some definitions of that word. One that caught my attention and I think best explains what this characteristic looks like in her life is:

Real: free from any intent to deceive or impress others (real folk who don't put on airs). Some of the synonyms are: genuine, honest, true, unpretentious, natural. 

Another word that came to mind was "loyal," and while it doesn't start with "R" and is not listed as a synonym, I feel that Jeanette is one of the most loyal people I know. She is loyal and true to her husband and marriage. She is loyal to her daughters and other family members. In her friendships throughout life, I have observed her to be loyal and I know that she maintains long-standing friendships with people who she has known for almost her entire life.

Jeanette is a genuine person who is doesn't try to pretend she's something she's not and she honestly relates to people in her life in a way that sets people at ease and enjoy being around her. In her younger years, she might have been described as "naive" or "gullible," but I think that those are a necessary part of being "real" with people. 

So, Sister, it is my hope and prayer for you on your birthday that as you are meeting new people and relating to others who have known you for many years, all will be able to know you as a Sister, Interesting, Silly, Tender-hearted, Enthusiastic and Real. I hope that you have a day filled with love and friends and fun! (those are bonus letters, not included in the word, "Sister")

I love you!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Sister: "E" is for Enthusiastic

"E" is for Enthusiastic

Another fun trait about my sister is that she is very enthusiastic about life. She can bring others on board with ideas (even silly ones) with her contagious excitement.

One time when I was planning my wedding and needing to purchase the fabric for the dress, I heard about an upcoming sale at a local fabric store. The saleswoman had let me in on a "secret" that if I came on Saturday morning before 7:00, I could get 50% off the regular price per yard. The sale changed every hour until by the middle of the morning, everything stayed at 20% off for the rest of the day.

Jeanette was living with me that summer and I went home and told her about the sale, thinking that we'd just plan to get there for the 20% off part of the day. After hearing about the better deal that we could get early in the morning, Jeanette enthusiastically convinced me that we could get up, throw on our clothes and get to the store in time to get 50% off the fabric we needed. Thanks to her encouragement, we saved a lot of money and made a fun sister memory!

One of my favorite birthday pictures of Jeanette was when she was turning five. Our family had been to Disney World and came back to our grandparents' house in time to celebrate Labor Day and Jeanette's birthday. Granddaddy asked her what kind of cake she wanted and what she would like to receive as presents. I think she gave pretty detailed description of what she wanted on her store-bought cake and she specifically asked for some dollar bills. Jeanette was super excited about all the fun decorations on the cake and loved all the presents she received, but when she opened the card with the money, she was ecstatic and someone in the family captured the joy on her face with her arms lifted high, clutching the dollar bills in her little hands.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Sister: "T" is for Tenderhearted

As we get closer to my sister's birthday, here's another attribute that I love about Jeanette.

"T" is for Tenderhearted

My sister has a beautifully kind and tender heart toward people. As a little girl, she tenderly loved her baby dolls and as she got older, she finally convinced our parents to let her have a puppy. Watching Jeanette become a Mommy to her real-live babies, more of her tenderness shined through.

I also appreciate how Jeanette showed tenderness and kindness to our dad throughout the years that he dealt with Parkinson's Disease and as his health declined. She also showed the same tenderness to our grandmothers as they aged.

Another way Jeanette's tenderheartedness shows is through her genuine desire for people to come to know Jesus. She shows kindness and tenderness and patience with people she meets and earnestly prays for friends to have hearts open to knowing him. I admire this about my sister and am thankful for the example she is to me.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Sister: "S" is for Silly

For the second "S" in Sister, I have to tell you about Jeanette's silly side!

"S" is for Silly

If you haven't seen any of my sister's silliness, I encourage you to get to know her better. Jeanette has always been funny, whether she was meaning to or not. She brought laughter to our family growing up and can act silly with her girls (even as a smart mommy distraction). I love that Jeanette can usually bring out the silly in most people, including me!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sister: "I" is for Interesting

Continuing my tribute to my dear sister this week leading up to her birthday,

"I" is for Interesting.

Jeanette is one of the most interesting people I know and I thought I'd share some of the interesting facts about her:

  • Jeanette has lived in three countries on three continents and has visited many more
  • She has lived in five states (MD, NJ, AL, TN, TX, NY)
  • Her left hand is dominant, but she is actually ambidextrous (or amphibian, as she thought the doctor said to my mom when he gave them that news)
  • Jeanette played percussion in the high school band and marched with a snare drum
  • She majored in Political Science in college because she "likes committee meetings"
  • Jeanette went sky-diving in her twenties and we have the video to prove it (too bad it's not digitized to share)
  • She can remember lyrics to songs and has been to numerous Billy Joel concerts
  • Jeanette can do a great rendition of Sally from The Peanuts comic strip
  • She likes "small" candies, like Nerds, Runts, Skittles
  • Jeanette is a great cook and loves to create and adapt recipes using creativity and ingredients she has on hand
  • She has a seminary degree in Preschool and Children's Ministry and has served as Preschool/Children's Minister and in other director roles in children's programs
  • Jeanette sang in chorus and had some solos in concerts and drama productions
I really could go on and on about how interesting my sister is. I love that she shares her interests with others and brings unique gifts to any relationship.

Jeanette marching with the GRHS band

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

"S" is for Sister

Happy September! I was happy to turn my calendar this morning and realize that we're in the fourth quarter of 2015. That makes me happy because lots of fun things happen in the last four months of the year: Christmas, Thanksgiving, Fall, and my sweet sister's birthday (later this week).

In honor of her birthday, I am going to post every day this week and give some thoughts using the letters in the word, "Sister."

"S" is for Sister
I know that's an obvious choice, but the biggest blessings in my life have come from having Jeanette as my sister. From the day she was born or at least when we brought her home from the hospital (and yes, I do remember that day), I recognized my role as big sister and knew that this new person in my life would be significant.

I didn't always appreciate her like I should have, but as we have grown up and are once again living in separate cities, I don't take for granted how special our relationship is. I am thankful that she was born and that God gave us each a special friend to walk through life with!