Mar 27, 2013

Thank You Mitchell

These past couple of weeks I have had the opportunity to make a necklace for a mother who lost her little boy.  I didn't know the story behind it, only what his favorite things are and what charms I would need to look for.  

As I posted the pictures of the finished necklace on my website today I started to get so many comments about a boy who had touched so many lives and that had to be the boy that I was making the necklace for.  Me being me, I started to investigate to see who this little boy was and not only him, but who this amazing mother was that I created this necklace for.

As I got to their facebook page and started to read through the story of Mitchell I was touched so deeply.  There was a picture of him looking out the window with the sun shining in on his face.  When his dad asked him what he was thinking he didn't want to talk about it, just wanted to be with his thoughts.  I don't know what Mitchell went through, but I remember those days.  I remember when Dave would be gone to school and I would have enough energy to get up from the couch and open the blinds. I would sit at the kitchen table and let the sun come in on my face, and I would wonder how many more days God was going to let me see the sun rise.  How many more mornings he was going to let me kiss my husband goodbye, and how many more sunny days I was going to have shining on my face through those kitchen windows.  Lucky for me, God chose to keep me here for now.

As I read the story of Mitchell and watched his eyes, and his face, and the way he just "knew" things I started to cry.  I wasn't crying for the loss of a little boy, but I was crying because I know those feelings and I remember thinking of what an old soul I must have for me to have the thoughts and know the things that God allowed me to know at that time.  I feel so blessed that I was given a second chance to continue to live this life.

As I made this necklace I've been moved to tears multiple times. Not because I knew the story, because I didn't until tonight, but as I have been making these "Memory Necklaces" as I have started to call them on my jewelry site, I have been touched by the love that the family members, friends, and loved ones, of our passed loved ones.  The love that they have for the people that they have lost moves me to tears and makes me even more grateful that I was given life.  It makes me so grateful that on the day where I was given a choice to choose to go home and be with my Heavenly Father, that he let me see Dave, and that I chose to stay here.  

I don't know what pain and hardships I will have to endure on this earth.  I don't know how long this sick little body of mine will continue to keep going, but I know I am thankful for everyday that I get.  I am thankful for every morning that I wake up and get to open my blinds and feel the sun on my face.  I am thankful for the beautiful smile I see on my husbands face everyday when he walks in from work, and I'm truly grateful for the lives that not only I get to touch, but that touch me on a daily basis.

I don't know what plan God has for me on this earth, but I know I am here for a reason.  I know he allowed me to make the choice to live so that I could accomplish some plan of his, and as long as he lets me keep breathing I am going to do it. 

So thank you to each of you who touch my life, thank you to each of you who trust me to make jewelry for those people that you love, and thank you to each of you who have lost someone, but continue to go on, and love life, and embrace each day with a passion that only God understands.  You are truly amazing examples to me, and I'm thankful for your stories, your love, and your compassion.

Thank you Mitchell, for touching me tonight, and that you to Mitchell's mom's dear friend who asked me to make a necklace that would change the way I look at the world yet again, and remind me of so many reasons why I am thankful I chose to live that day.
Jilly Bean Jewelry 

Mar 17, 2013

Forgive and Forget...Truly

As I get older I have come to some realizations.  Sour candy doesn't taste as good as it did when I was 5.  I actually like smoked oysters.  I still love big, bright colors, like I did when I was 10, and forgiving people isn't as always as easy as it was when I was younger.

When I was in Kindergarten, my friend and I could be playing on the playground and she would "ditch" me to go play on the monkey bars with someone else.  Yes, I felt cheated, and used, and like a little fat "unpopular" girl that no one wanted to play with, but 10 minutes later when recess was over and we were back inside, we were friends again making a craft project.  Forgiving was easy.  It didn't mean that my feelings didn't get hurt, I guess I was just more resilient back then.

As I have gotten older I have learned a few things.  I have learned that I care less about what others want me to be, and more about who I want to be.  I have learned that my waist size doesn't determine the size of my heart.  I have learned who I can trust, and who I can share only "surface" details with, and I have learned who my true friends are, and who they're not.  I have learned who I can depend on this life, the people that truly matter to me, and that I will actually invest time on.  I've also learned that when one of those people hurt you, it's the hardest to forgive; even when you too have done something to hurt them.

In my daily reading of one of my 100's of self help books, I came across a quote that hit me very hard this morning.  "Most of us have to do our forgiving while we are being forgiven."  That was so huge to me because I realized, "Yeah Jill, you're not perfect.  You screw up, and even though you're mad, the other person is just as mad at you."  It never clicked to me that while I was trying to forgive someone who had hurt me, that someone else, or the same person, may be trying to forgive me.  

We all do things that hurt each other.  The majority of the time we don't mean to offend, or hurt another person.  We are human though, and we are going to.  We are going to offend no matter how hard we try.  We're not in control of how another human being reacts to our actions, but we are in control of ourselves.  We are in control of saying "I'm Sorry" when we've done something wrong.  You are in control of making the situation as right as you possibly can, but once you have done all you can, you have no more control.

I guess what I didn't realize is that even when I screw up at times (which is a lot) and I hurt someone, and I know I have hurt them; I will apologize and try to make it right, but at the same time I have learned that, that is not always enough for me.  I tend to hold grudges and have bad feelings about something completely unrelated to the screw up that I made.  Now is that fair?  I quite frankly don't know.  I don't think a lot of things in this life are fair, but this is how I feel, and I'm just being honest about that.  

Sometimes I hurt people, but at the same time they have hurt me.  They have hurt me without even knowing, and although I will do my part and apologize, I still have to take my own time to work through my issues on forgiving them.  I don't have to let them know about it, because it's MY OWN issue.  It has nothing to do with them.  They probably don't even know that they have hurt me, and they don't need to know.  It's my issue that I have to come to terms with and either be okay with or not be okay with.  This is part of growing up and learning to be the bigger person.

During this process of me letting go, and forgiving them, I don't need to go to them and say, "Hey by the way I want you to know that I forgive you too." because that's going at the situation with bad intentions.  That's trying to make YOU feel better, and get revenge.  And trust me, revenge is a lot different than forgiveness.  Revenge is NEVER a road you want to take.  It only ends in sorrow.  But acknowledging in yourself that 1. You have been hurt, and 2. That you have to forgive them within yourself, before this relationship can ever hope to have a chance again; is a HUGE step.  It can't be forced, it can't be put on a time limit, and it's okay if they have forgiven you, but you have yet to forgive them.  You don't need to tell them you haven't dealt with it yet, you simply thank them for their forgiveness, and say that you still need sometime.  Simple as that. (Yeah, so simple. Right?!)

These are the things I am learning as an adult, having adult relationships.  Relationships are hard, especially when you let someone into your trust zone and they hurt you.  Trust me my friends, that is hard to forgive, but for you to ever get on with your life, YOU HAVE TO FORGIVE THEM. You have to work it through for YOU. You don't have to have them in your life anymore, but you do have to forgive them for you to ever be able to move on as a full functioning human being.  You have to forgive them to be the best you, that you can be, and isn't that what we all really want from this life?  We just want to be the "Best" that we can possibly be.  

So let it go, move on, choose to have them in your life or not, either way forgive and forget.  I promise you will be happier when you do.  It doesn't have to be today, or tomorrow.  You have to work it through and it has to be in your time frame, but you need to do it, FOR YOU.  You need to love every second of this life, and you can't do that with resentment and hurt in your heart.

Mar 9, 2013

The "Fiction" of "Falling in Love"

 I'm reading a book called "The 5 Love Languages".  For the majority I know it's true, but a lot of it makes me sad, and also makes me realize that Dave and I do not have the normal marriage.  For that 1 fact, I am eternally grateful.

The other day in the kitchen I was making dinner and Dave and I were discussing how our 4 year Anniversary was coming up in a couple of weeks.  That's 5 1/2 years of us being together. (Now please know that I don't claim to know everything about love, and I realize that 5 1/2 years is a VERY SHORT time in the big scheme of things).  As we sat there chatting while I whipped up some spaghetti, I made the comment, "Isn't it amazing how I still feel like I just married you yesterday?  I love you just as much as I did the day I said yes, and even more if that is possible.  I still love all your little things you do, and nothing that you do really ever bothers me enough to get mad.  You leaving your clothes on the floor or towel on the ground are things that I would miss so much if you were gone, and they are things that I love about you, because they ARE YOU."  

Dave got a little smile on his face and he said, "You know babe, it is crazy.  I feel the exact same way about you."

I understand that what Dave and I went through during the 1st year of our marriage really changed the way our marriage would be.  After a month of being married, and almost losing the "love of your life" you tend to not sweat the small stuff.  The toilet seat being left up doesn't matter, and the dishes in the sink can wait over cuddling on the couch watching a movie.  You learn that time together is much more important than time spent worrying over all the other miniscule things in life.

As I read this book they talk about "Falling in Love" and that it lasts as the most 2 years.  The thought blew my mind.  I feel like I'm still "falling in love" with Dave.  Everyday he does something that makes my heart go pitter patter, and he makes me bite my lip.  Every day I find myself starring at him while just thinking about how much I love him, until something happens to make me snap out of it.  I believe that I'm never NOT falling in love with him.  Every day is another day that I get to fall more in love with my husband and I'm so grateful for that.

Now I know there truly are 5 love languages.  Dave has his as much as I have mine.  The thing is though, that if one of us do something outside of the other person's love language we are able to acknowledge that they are still trying.  Not only that, but Dave and I have the most amazing communication.  There is nothing that we don't talk about, or that I feel I can't share with him.  We are constantly talking about what is important to us, and what the other person can do to help us feel more loved and more important.  It never irritates either of us to hear that the other person needs a little more of this or a little more of that, we just look at it as a way to love each other more.
I was very lucky when I found Dave.  I found a man who is not only my best "guy friend", but he is also my lover.  He is the most unselfish man I have ever known.  His main goal in this life is to provide for me, and make me happy.  Everything he does is based around the thought, "will this make Jilly feel more loved?"  I never knew that existed until I met him.  Not only did I not know it existed, but I didn't know that I was capable of loving a man that same way.

For those of you who know me, I tend to be selfish and self centered at times.  I love shopping for myself, I love cooking for myself, I love taking time to do the things that I love, and I absolutely HATE doing the stuff that needs to be done.  Now, because I love my husband, and I love other people I choose to serve, but not always as fast as I need to.  Now take a lesson from my husband.

I had let the dishes pile up and up and up.  Why?  Because I absolutely despise doing dishes.  I don't think in a million years I could truly explain my disdain for washing a dish.  It is my arch nemesis.  I HATE IT!  Dave knows this.  He knows that a week is going to go by and I'm going to leave the dishes in the sink.  Now finally I will have had it and I will break down and do the dishes.  Here is the amazing thing about my husband though, when he can see that I am really struggling mentally, with my bipolar, or physically, with being ill all the time, he will lay me down on the couch, bring me a drink, try to get me to take a nap and he will stay up until 3 in the morning at times, to do the dishes.  After he has gotten home from his lab at 10, worked all day at the VA Hospital, and studied until 1am, he will then put those dish gloves on and scrub those dishes for me.  He never expects a thank you, and he never gets mad that he does them.  He does it because he knows how much it means to me, and because he loves me so much.

He scrubs the bathroom weekly, just to help me out.  My husband understands the physical challenges that I deal with on a daily basis.  I know I complain, and he's an angel and just listens, but not only does he listen, he goes above and beyond to help me out.  He goes to school, work, and study time, and he still comes home and helps me clean the house, fold the laundry, and wash the dishes.  He does all of this without ever expecting ANYTHING in return.  To me that is true love, and that is why I continue to "fall in love" with this amazing man every day.  That is one of the many reasons why after 4 years of marriage we still feel like we said "I do" yesterday.
I know I haven't said the things that I do for him, but I don't need to.  They're not important.  The important thing is that I feel truly lucky to have the marriage and relationship that I do, because by reading this book I'm finding that it is very rare.  I'm finding that so many people live in "loveless" marriages, and it breaks my heart for them.  I can't imagine how, nor would I ever want to experience what that feels like.  It almost brings me to tears to know that people are married and don't share what Dave and I share.

Dave and I learned a very valuable lesson after 2 months of marriage; nothing in this world matters if you don't have the love of your life to share it with.  When I laid in the hospital bed, and was almost dead, we got the opportunity to see that, 1. I would do anything to live one more day with Dave.  I would overcome anything just so I could wake up and see his face again and 2. Dave learned that nothing in this life is worth an argument because your spouse could be gone tomorrow, and that thing that they do that bugs you would no longer be there, and you would miss it.  

I think if we each could change our perspective a bit and learn to cherish the thing that "Bugs" us about our spouse, whether it be that wet towel on the ground, toothpaste in the sink, or clothes dumped around the house.  If you learned to love those things,  your entire perspective would change.  You would know that those are the things that make them who they are, and you fell in love with "who they are" so you need to keep loving them.  You shouldn't want to change your spouse, you should want to change how you feel about them.  They love you for who you are, and they accept you with all of your faults, so you need to love and accept them with theirs.  Plus, they could be gone tomorrow.  Nothing in this life is permanent.  Nothing is guaranteed.  Those things that you let make you crazy today, could make your heart ache tomorrow if they were gone.  I promise you, you would miss picking up their socks off the ground if they were gone.

So on this 4th Anniversary to my sweetheart, I want to thank him for loving me in a way that is unlike any other love on the planet.  A love that is so rare, and so few and far between, that I am truly blessed to have it.  I am the luckiest girl on the planet, and I'm so thankful that Dave continues to love me with ALL of my faults. And believe me, I have a TON!!!  Turning this corner into year #4 I love him as much as I did the day I looked him in the eye and said "I Do."  

That day 4 years ago was the greatest day of my life up to that point, and now each day that I get to wake up and see his smiling face is the next greatest day of my life.  I will cherish every morning that I wake up holding his hand and see him sleeping next to me.  It's the small things that matter, and the little things I treasure.  So happy Anniversary my love.  Here's to another 4, and another 50 after that, if we can both keep on kicking.  I love spending my life with you, and I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you.  Happy Anniversary and all my love in the world,
Your Jilly Pepper