About Me

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I'm a child of God, wife to Charlie, mom to three beautiful girls, daughter to Dennis and Susan, and friend to as many as I can meet. (In that order.) Welcome to my bloggaroni. :) Follow me on Twitter: thatsmykimjay / Go to my site: www.kimjay.com

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Generations of note writers and savers...

One thing my family's got down pat is...saying the important things.  Oh yeah, we get on each other's nerves.  We get all up in each other's business.  But, in my family...there is love.  And, not only that, we tell each other.  A lot.  And, we speak it, write it, email it, and hug and cuddle it.  Then, we keep it.  Forever.

Another such example I found while removing the primate from my shoulders last week, is a whole collection of notes in one envelope.  My mom gave me this envelope shortly after my grandmother died, now seven years ago.  She was one of my best friends.  I was VERY close to my grandmother.  Her, my brother Matt, and me are the only redheads in the family!  (Yet, at least.  REALLY hoping my little niece shoots out in October with bright, red, hair!)  My mom and my aunts had the task of going through all of HER cards and financial papers and keepsakes.  And, in that process, she found these treasures.

The first note was from my mom:
Dearest Kim,
Thank you for the many loving acts of kindness you gave Grandmama through the years.  I know that you treasure each memory.  Someday you will be the type of grandmother who will mail catalog paper dolls to her granddaughters…sing silly songs…talk about ancestors to let your grandchildren know who they are….and, tell them how much Jesus loves them.  I am so proud of you! 
I love my mom so much.  The way she loves Jesus.  The way she listens.  The way she makes you feel like the most important person in the world.  It is truly because of her, that I am a follower of Christ.  She has held on to him her whole life, despite the hardships she grew up in.  Losing her dad at the age of twelve, being raised by a single mom who had to work! in the fifties and sixties!  My mom is truly one to know.  And, I'm the luckiest - I'm her daughter.

Included in the envelope was another note found in my grandmother's treasures.  Well, two other notes.  One, was written by my mother near my due date, which was around Thanksgiving, 1969.  Yes.  I finally was coaxed out of the warm, safe, belly of my mama on December 9th!  I don't think my mom has ever forgiven my tardiness.  Or my size...9 lbs. 6 oz.  The envelope, addressed to my grandmother had specific instructions (Mama, Do not open this until I am in the Delivery Room.  See ya soon.  Love ya!  Susan)  The letter read:

Dear Mama,
I know you’ll worry about me but try not to – I’m healthy as a horse.  My baby will be too.  Mama, I would give anything in the world to give you a grandson, but if I do have a little girl try not to be too disappointed, after all almost 21 years ago you had a “sweet” little girl.
I am going to teach this child all the little things you taught us.  For instance, yes ma’am, and no ma’am; and various sayings such as “If a job is once begun never leave it till it’s done – be the labor great or small do it well or not at all.”  Well, Mama, I am doing my labor (Excuse the pun!) as well as I know how. I just wanted you to know I love you very much and I appreciate everything you’ve taught me.  I’ll close now so I can see my first born as soon as I can.
Your First Born
Ps.  Please don’t let anyone else read this.  This is just for you.

My mom included in my envelope, a picture of her holding me.  One that I will cherish as long as I live.  It was just me and her then.  Before my pesky brothers came along and spoiled the party.  :)  I'm just kidding.  But, I do think about that a lot.  There was that same kind of special time with all three of my girls.  Before Bradyn was born, there was just me and Moey.  Then, when Morgan went to Kindergarten, it was just me and Brady-Lady.  Now, my sweet time during the day with Peanut.  This picture makes me feel special.  And, I see my resemblance to her.  Some have asked me if Morgan had red hair as a baby.  They think it's me and Moey!  Also, in the envelope, two pics.  One, of my mom and me in Grandmama's yard, and one of Morgan and me in Grandmama's yard.  Nearly identical.

The other note REALLY cracked me up, and then REALLY made me cry.  I'm crying right now.  Just knowing that grandmama kept this note after more than 20 years because I wrote it.  She loved me so much.  It was really crazy how much I've been loved in my life.  She, and Papa Tang, Granddaddy and Memaw, and my parents led the pack.  Heck!  She called me, "Lil Sug"!  I mean, as an adult, she introduced me to other adults as "Lil Sug."  Here's the other note:

Dear Grandmama,
I love you very much.  I really loved staying with you.  And you weren’t bad company.
Kimberley D. Roaten
Ps.  Thank you for letting me wrap your presents. Kim

The letter was dated December 19, 1980.  I was eleven.  How funny.  "And you weren't bad company."  Oh, what I would give to spend the night with Granna.  To listen to her say "The Lord is my Shepherd," to me at bedtime.  To sing all the old hymns I had never heard.  Oh, I miss her.  

So, the moral of this story?  Write the notes.  Don't just say it.  Don't just email it.  Make a HARD COPY of how much you love and appreciate and cherish one another.  (Cough! Charlie!  Cough!)  Because, when we are gone....heck, even if we are just older, reading these treasures is just that.  A treasure.  Nothing else on earth means anything.  If you have everything you can buy, but no one to love you - no one to TELL you that they love you...what have you got?

Love to all my friends,

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Nighttime rituals...

Had a BALL with little Julia last week.  She was just the most delightful little bundle of one!  I could have stayed and played all night.  Mom had a WONDERFUL idea...capture the nighttime ritual.  Could somebody please come to my house and do this for me?  I LOVE it.  Thanks, mom.

Little Jules...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Client Spotlight: Darren Andrus

I had the wonderful blessing of photographing the Andrus family during this past summer.  What a joy of a session!  Their three girls were just as sweet and well-behaved as can be.  They were celebrating the recent adoption of their oldest child, Jennifer, with a NEW family portrait that included their new addition.

So, of course I was delighted when Darren asked me to help with some promo shots for his new ministry website.  Darren is currently the Director of the Tennessee Baptist Children's Home, in Bartlett, Tennessee.  In his new ministry, Dr. Darren Andrus, helps parents like you and me, learn how parent successfully when all else has failed.  What an amazing ministry!  Here are a few favs from our session together.  If you get a chance, stop by his website, and follow him on Twitter (@DarrenAndrus).  You won't be sorry!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Postmarked: November 27, 1984...

So, last week, I shook that monkey off my back.  And, in doing so, I found blessing after blessing among the junk.  One such blessing, was a letter from my Daddy dated back in November of 1984.  The thing that struck me the most about this letter, is that he was trying to see my side of it.  And, trying to show me his.  Often, with teenagers, we as parents go with our instincts and lash-out and hold firm on "being right."  My daddy loved me enough to look at my side.  To value my feelings.  Because he valued me, I valued me.  And, I am CERTAIN that led me to make better choices in life.

Apparently, we had some sort of argument which quite possibly may have been focused around the fact that I felt that I was getting the majority of the work around the house - because I was the only girl.  He sent this letter from the bank to our home address at the time....I was the first one home, and the first to get the mail each day.  I had to chuckle when he signed it, "Dennis."  I love my Daddy.

I asked his permission to share this letter in an email:


I am cleaning out my old boxes full of files and keep-sakes.  I found this letter from you, postmarked November 1984.  I was about to turn 15.  25 years ago.  Wow. Thank you for being the kind of daddy who writes letters like this to his daughter.  I love you so very much.  I wish every daughter in the world had what I have.  I often wonder how it was that I got lucky enough to have you and mom.  Why did God bless ME so much?

Do you mind if I share this on my blog?  If sharing this letter spurred one dad to write a letter like this to his daughter, to me, it would be worth it.  I understand if it is too personal, too.  Your call.

Hope you are having a wonderful day!  Did the American Pickers call?


Your darling daughter.  :)

November 27, 1984:

Dear Kim,

You are most precious to me, you are all I ever could hope for in a daughter.  You are gracious, loving, concerned, thoughtful, creative, ambitious, brave, and fair. You are industrious, tender, and a beautiful daughter.

These teen-age years are a mixed time of your lie.  You will have much personal growth mentally as well as physically.  I hope that your mother and I can love and support you as much as possible, to allow you to be free to test your wings and enjoying this maturing time.  I'm sorry if I come on too strong at times.  You are like me in many ways, you and I both have many things too do.  We have many goals and aspirations for ourselves.  We both feel frustrated a lot because these goals are usually to high and many times not achieved because of reasons out of our control.

Please be patient with me and try to understand.  I hope I'm not that bad a father.  My aim is really to encourage Matt, and Jared to take more initiative and responsibility in helping in our family.  Being head of a family is a tremendous responsibility, that comes with much joys, pride, love and pain.  I believe we have a great deal in our family.  WE share more than most other families.  Susan and I work hard to provide for you and the boys, and appreciate how hard you work to help us.

"Thank you God, for giving us Kim.  Please lead - guide - and protect her all the days of her life."

We love you,


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Monkey on my back...

The monkey has left the building.  That monkey that I carried around on my back for the past five years.  That monkey that sat upstairs in boxes! taunting me not just for a second time, but continuously.  The monkey on my back is gone!

When I got that fateful call from my ex-husband five years ago, that our marriage was kaput!, I immediately went into panic-packing mode.  My sweet small group friends at church were my accomplices in collecting all my belongings which suddenly became my belongings, and not our belongings with that one phone call.  Suddenly, my desk was my desk.  His guitar was his guitar.  And, so on, and so on.  In that mad rush, the filing I had put off for a month or so, was piled in a box and toted to my mom and dad’s house with everything else that was suddenly mine.  

Then, I began to work full-time for the first time in 11 years.  That little filing pile grew slowly, like one of those moles you watch carefully but don’t quite feel it’s time to slice off yet.  I’m so tired, I remember thinking, I’ll do it Saturday when the girls are with their dad.  Enter, Dancin’ Jimmy.  The weekends on a plane, the weekends on a phone, the weekends on email.  The pile grew.  By the time we got married, the pile needed to be biopsied badly!  It was surely malignant by now.

Then, we got married and moved to Richmond.  I wanted to spend the summer with my girls before they started their new school, so I put it off some more.  I would definitely get to it when school starts.  Enter, Peanut.  Well, embryonic Peanut.  Boy, oh boy.  I knew from the day of the first pregnancy test this one was gonna be a doozy!  Sick doesn’t describe it.  Then, as I finally was able to regain my composure after that first trimester, my heart started going crazy, then as I got that under control, the hip went out.  So, that box upstairs?  Not an option.  Then, we moved to Memphis and well, baby who doesn’t nap. 

The bad thing was, it was eating at me everyday.  I could not sit on my couch, play outside, go to the pool, without thinking about that mess upstairs.  And, worse!, what must Charlie think of me?  The last thing on the planet I would want him to think, was that I was......gasp….unorganized!  It’s my crack, y’all.  Can’t cook, can’t nurse a baby, but dang it, I can ORGANIZE!

So, Peanut is two.  And, has thankfully (KNOCK ON A FREAKING HOUSE MADE OF WOOD) has been so sweet, helpful, and docile lately.  And, I’m between classes.  SO…

I DID IT!  And, it was an amazingly wonderful three days.  Among the files, bills, report cards, insurance cards, birth certificates, MARRIAGE licenses, were cards.  Dozens of them.  From my dad.  My mom.  My grandparents.  My brother, even.  And, I sat and cried for three days.  Tomorrow I will begin to share some of them.  And, truly…they are the most valuable possessions I own. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday, monday...

Just enjoying the laziness that is my life THIS DAY.  I am between classes in my quest to get my pre-reqs before I apply to nursing grad school.  I finished an ENORMOUS project that I had been putting off for YEARS, this weekend.  (Blog tomorrow.)  And, I had a few days in between sessions to rest photographically.  Today, I have just relished every Peanut moment I could - knowing it will be over very soon.

It has been ages since I could REALLY relax - at home.  Sure!  On vacation laying on the beach, when my laundry, projects, dust-bunnies, work, kids...were all a thousand miles away, I was able to relax.  But, at home, it is impossible to relax guilt-free.  (Again, tomorrow's blog.)  But, today?  Today was about the Nut....

This one, totally out of focus, but scrumptiously Peanut...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

See what a good mom I am?

I couldn't sleep last night.  No idea why, but for the past week, it has been hard for me to get to sleep.  I think I finally gave up Words With Friends and Twitter and Facebook around 12:30, and finally gave up the ghost.  Prior to that, I laid in the dark, with my iphone brightness set way-low, so as not to wake the dude in bed with me.  That, my friends, is called ADDICTION.

2:30.  Screams from the baby monitor.  Here it is, I thought.

I knew the first night of "big girl bed" festivities went too smoothly.  And, I also knew how many people I bragged to about my sweet little Anna.  I don't believe in Karma, but last night it bit me in the BUTT!

For those of you who didn't get to hear about how great my daughter is, what a good mom I am because of it....we took the rail off of Peanut's bed Monday night.  And, it went off without a hitch.  She slept all night, and got up and played in her room for 45 minutes before I had to drag my lazy booty out of bed yesterday morning.  See what a good mom I am?

But, last night, God said, "Oh, yeah?  Little Miss Kim is getting too big for her breeches!"

I heard that little voice over the baby monitor calling to me amidst the tears.  Jumped out of bed (how I wish I could do that everyday - just jump out of bed) and walked not-slowly down to Peanut's room.  When I opened the door, I found her standing by her dresser bawling her eyes out.  I wasn't sure whether she had fallen out of bed, or had a night terror.  We haven't had a night terror in quite sometime.  But, you never know.

"There, there, sweet girl.  Did you fall out of bed?"

"Yes, I fall.  I fall.  Mommy, mommy.  I fall."

Poor thing.  But, something didn't add up.  She was really crying.  And, I had taken measures to make sure she didn't hurt herself too badly if she did fall.  See what a good mom I am?

I decided not to put one of those training rails up, hoping that maybe if she fell off a couple of times onto the mat without getting hurt, it would help train her not to sleep on the edge.  That makes sense, right?  Right?  Come on people, I've done this before, you know!

So, I consoled her, even let her lay in bed with us for a little bit.  Put her back to bed, which involved letting her cry a little, which totally broke my heart.  "Mommy!  Mommy!" Then, finally, quiet.  I went back to sleep.

I don't even remember what time it was when she woke up again.  Frankly, I don't remember much about that incident, except I know I got up.  I think I went in and covered her up (she was in bed) and turned her music on for her - at her request.  At least, that's what I think.

So, this morning, this is who woke up and played in her room happily...

Notice anything?  

Yep.  Bruises all over her face and neck.  Oh man.  See what a good mom I am?  Oh man.

I have spent the good portion of this morning trying to recreate the scene last night, using all of the skills I have learned on 48 Hours and Forensic Files, in hopes to figure out HOW THE HECK DID THIS HAPPEN TO MY BABY?  (I removed the crime scene tape from her room before I photographed it for you.)

All I can figure, is when she fell out of bed, IN THE DARK, she tried to get to the door and smacked her face on the dresser.  Or, she tried to get back in bed and tripped and hit her face on the side of her bed.  I really don't know.  

Charlie suggested maybe we put a night-light in there for her.  I don't know.  I'm wondering if we did that, would she DEFINITELY be getting out of bed all night and coming to get us?  That maybe the dark would be her mental bedrail?  That maybe this incident will make her think, I'm not getting out of bed again and smacking my face against something!  But, I also don't want her to get hurt.  What to do?  What to do?  I've got today to pray about it.  And, your thoughts/suggestions are WELCOME!

Oh, girls (and dudes), this stuff doesn't get easier.  Even the third time around.  

See what a good mom I am?

2:37 PM - UPDATE:

After a jog with mom in her stroller, we attempted nap-time.  She clung to me like I was about to leave her at the boogey-man's house.  I said, "Do you want me to put the rails back on?"  "Yes!"  So I did.  She is asleep and I will be tonight!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hot, hot, day...

We had a lot of fun at the Memphis Botanic Gardens, even though it was hot as all get out that day!  But, Carson was a trooper!  And, something about those rosy cheeks makes him even sweeter.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Blackbird singing in the dead of night...

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Black bird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
you were only waiting for this moment to be free

Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.

Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise,
You were only waiting for this moment to arise,
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

See these two?  There's a special bond between these two people that not many get to experience.  My dad and my daughter.

My dad called me just now and said, "I'm done......I'm done."  Initially, this caught me completely off guard.  Done?  Is work okay?  Are you and mom okay?  Did I do something wrong?  "Something happened the other night that I will never forget as long as I live.  My granddaughter went to see Paul McCartney, and called ME so I could hear Blackbird."  

See, Bradyn is a major Beatles fan.  So much so, that her dad flew her up to Philly this weekend to hear Paul McCartney in concert for her 13th birthday.  I know, I know, it's tough being Bradyn!  But, Pa and Nana?  Also Beatles fans.  My mom made sure that Bradyn knew that SHE loved Sir Paul for longer than Bradyn's mother was alive.  I grew up listening to those old 8-tracks of The Beatles and John Denver.  That is, until my dad discovered the dulcimer.  Then, the focus sharply turned to mountain folk music.  Woo hoo!  (Major sarcasm, in case you didn't catch that.)  I'll just say this, if your dad MAKES dulcimers, you're gonna be one popular girl in high school!  (More, major sarcasm.  Just oozing with it now.)

Bradyn, however, loves the dulcimer.  She and my parents never miss a Dulcimer Festival in Mountain View, Arkansas.  She has her very own, and frequently goes to the lake with my parents to do their little dulcimer-stuff.  And, over the years, listening to the Beatles during that three hour drive, "Blackbird" has become their "song."  

Talking to my dad just now, we talked about the fact that it was their song.  "Me and my granddaughter have a 'song'.  That fills my heart up so much, I can't even talk about this anymore at work.  I'm getting all emotional."  So, with that, he went on to the next customer at the bank.  But, I know, that although he probably would rather be retired right now, that today may be a frustrating one, he knows that Brady-Lady loves him.  And, that's a blessing not many in this world get.  

And, today, for me, even though Peanut is screaming for her Daddy to come down stairs, that I have to work, and do a million other things....I know that both Brady-Lady and my Daddy love me.  None of this pittly little stuff is worth the energy those frustrations demand.  I am loved.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Just a heads-up...

Hello everybody!  Just wanted to give you all a heads up about scheduling for the rest of the year.  I will be having a little "procedure", the first week in October that will require several weeks of taking it easy for recovery.  Nothing major, just a little tune-up and some girl stuff.  (You're welcome, guys - for sparing you the gory details.)  Read more here, if you'd like.

SO....this means that after September, I will not be taking appointments until January.  Just wanted to give you all a little warning, in case you have been putting off making that call to get your date on my books.  :)  But, I will be back...FULL FORCE at the beginning of the year!  So, don't forget about me!

Love to you all,

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What is wrong with me?

Is it just me?  Why do I seem to thrive on stress?  It's like I go looking for it.  Really.  Life is moving along just fine, and then I get some crazy idea and BAM!  Right in the kisser!

For those of you who haven't caught on...with the Facebook updates and Twitter rants about the various anatomical and physiological terms I am trying to stuff into my brain...much like I do on a Friday night trying to stuff myself back into my old jeans.........I am going back to school.

I have officially and certifiably lost my mind.  And to prove it, instead of STUDYING, I'm blogging.  Oh yeah, I'm the model student.  Sigh.

Right now, I am in the last week of a summer online class which is one of three pre-requisites for APPLICATION to nursing school.  Anatomy and Physiology I & II, and Microbiology.  My hope, is to be accepted into The University of Tennessee Health & Science Masters in Nursing program.  A two-year program to earn my masters and be certified as a Clinical Nurse Leader.  MSN-CNL program.

That's the plan.  I have NO idea how hard it will be to get into the program.  But, I've heard it is pretty competitive.  And, once I fool them all into letting me in, it will be full-time plus clinical work for two straight years including summers, beginning next June.  Or will it?  That is the question.  Should I apply this year and do school BEFORE Peanut is in school?  Or, wait until she starts Kindergarten.

Ugh.  The question of the century.  On one hand, I don't want to miss her "baby years."  Oh my heart.  On the other hand, I don't want to be gone when she runs in from her first day at Kindergarten to tell me all she did that day.  Ugh.  UGHHHHHH!!!!!!

Don't even get me started on the Morgan and Bradyn part of this.  Morgan will start college in TWO YEARS!  And, sweet little Bradyn will be in highschool!

So, that's what's going on with me right now.  I have one week left to this A&P I class, then three weeks off, then another semester of A&P II.  Microbiology in the Spring.  What to do?  What to do?

Thank God for the world-wide-web!  Free therapy!  Just get a blog.  :)