Monday, August 31, 2015

Shortcuts to God

Walt Disney World is described as “the happiest place on earth”. But to someone waiting anxiously for a chance to ride Space Mountain, there is nothing happy about the long lines. It may be hot and humid or the guy behind you smells…icky…, so much so that you really wish you could bypass the long lines. A shortcut if you will.

While shortcuts can have many positive outcomes, sometimes it’s best to allow God the time to prepare our hearts and bodies for our destiny.

For the last three summers I have had the privilege (and it truly is a privilege) to attend Music and Worship Arts Week at the Lake Junaluska Assembly in North Carolina. If we are metaphorically climbing “Jacob’s Ladder”, Lake Junaluska is the final rung before heaven itself. I absolutely love every detail of Lake J.

Music Week often overlaps with the Youth Week. Since my group from Purvis United Methodist had a few kids who were doing both music and youth, the adults such as myself stay a few extra days to be with those kids. On the last night of Youth Week, something incredible happens. The only way I know to describe it is holy.

You see, on the very last night, all of the youth leave their retreat center and travel by foot up the mountain to the very summit. It’s a long walk. And they have to do it in complete silence. Imagine a couple hundred people trying to be super quiet. It can be challenging to say the least. The whole walk is a time of deep contemplation. We are to be in constant communion with the Lord the whole time. Did I mention it’s a long walk?

When we finally reach the top of the mountain, we are greeted by a massive, fully-lit cross. The lights on it never burn out. It is there as a beacon of hope, drawing eyes from all over the lake. At the foot of the cross, we place a marble in a bucket. (They give you the marble when you exit the youth building.) The marble is representing the conversations we have had with our Father on the journey up the mountain. When we reach the pinnacle, we leave our marble at His feet as a representation of total surrender.

The travelers all sit together in an outdoor amphitheatre of sorts just below the cross. Only the view of the lake and endless mountains are before us. It’s incredible. Finally, we start to sing “Pass it On”. At the part of the song that says “Praise God”, we shout it as loud as we can. Then, the mountains sing it back to us! The echoes go on and on. It’s chilling just how holy that moment is. Scripture tells us in Luke 19:40 that when we are silent, even the rocks cry out and bust into cheers for their Maker.

It’s a humbling experience touching that cross. But it’s a long walk. Think of what we would have missed out on had we tried to take a shortcut. There are no shortcuts to the Cross. Each and every step is preparing us to reach our final destination with our Heavenly Father. Keep persevering, my friend. The Cross is so worth it!

©2015 Jean Claire Monroe · All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Big D...

Is it Normal Aging or Dementia?

They've been married forever.

I hear that a lot from families. They may not know the exact date their parents were married, but they know it's been forever! By this they mean their parents work as a unit, and friends and family members are used to this interaction. This ability to work as a team is a wonderful thing until one of the team isn’t functioning well and the other is in denial. When couples cover up for each other, precious time can be lost.  

When should children act? 
Healthy aging brings with it some losses, but if seniors have a mate, they often can live independently for a longer time as they fill in the gaps for each other. Dad’s eyes aren't that great anymore, but Mom coaches him and he does okay. Or Mom’s driving is questionable, but Dad does most of the driving when they are in high traffic areas.

Teasing apart a decades-long team effort to present a united face of viable functioning to the world isn’t easy, but careful observance can generally penetrate their act.

Carolyn Rosenblatt, examines this issue. Rosenblatt writes that action should be taken even if a dementia diagnosis isn’t made by a physician.  In her article she says, “Here’s what’s important:  it doesn’t matter if you have a diagnosis for your aging parent or not. It matters how your aging parent functions. It matters how you deal with what you see…If your aging parent or loved one is showing persistent memory loss and starting to mess up the basics of life, it’s a warning you should not ignore…”

Changes in behavior are the key
The key to dementia is often in the changes we observe in our elders. Using the example above of Mom’s driving, what is important is the change in her functioning. With normal aging, our reflexes aren’t as quick, our eyesight isn’t as keen, and we may avoid some of these situations more than when we were younger.  However, if Mom is avoiding driving because she gets lost even in familiar territory, she is showing signs of possible dementia.

If Dad, who made a living as a businessman, often crunching numbers in his work and also ran the family finances with precision and accuracy, is making a lot of financial errors, something may be wrong. Suddenly, or so it seems to his family, he’s late paying bills or he over-draws the checking account. This could be a sign of stress, or maybe his medications are affecting his ability to think well. It could be a sign of an infection in his system. Or it could be a sign that he is developing dementia. Only a complete checkup by a skilled specialist is likely to give you an answer.

Whatever the case, keep an eye on your aging loved ones while respectfully allowing them to continue life independently as long as possible.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Just Me, JC - Shopping!

Hey, guys!

I'm so glad you stopped by. I love sharing my Just Me, JC posts with you.

If you're new to the blog, Just Me, JC is a collection of posts on all things that make me JC. 

This week we are talking about shopping!
Raise you hand if you like shopping - me too!

Here are some of my favorite stores:

I worked at The Limited for a couple of years in college. Hurricane Katrina knocked out the mall in 2005, and The Limited never reopened. Now I have to order everything online. This is my favorite place to shop for work clothes and the only place I buy dress pants. I love the Drew!

My beloved TJ Maxx! I am such a maxxinista. I can find great basics, bags and perfumes as well as all kinds of house items that I don't need. I probably go in TJ Maxx once a week just to see what's new.

I've always shopped at New York & Company. It's great for casuals and work tops, and I love their lounge/yoga pants. They don't shrink up like others. I LOVE NY&C jewelry too. Lots of fun delicates and trendy styles. 

Let's hear it for Target! Who doesn't love this place? You can find me in the beauty and home ware aisles all the time. They also have a great selection of affordable swimsuits in the summer and scarves in the winter. Love target!

 Jessi Jayne is a boutique in Purvis that I love shopping at. They have great fashion items and unique jewelry. I always like supporting my local businesses!

Another unique boutique in Purvis. Fun jewelry, home items and unique decor. You just have to go there to see what I mean!

This is a no brainer for anyone that knows me or has read my blog. I love me some books, and I stop at Lifeway once a paycheck. This Seminary student needs all the Christian inspiration and topical books she can get her hands on. My favorite authors are Beth Moore and Kay Arthur.

And for all other books, Books a Million!
 I love the smell when you first walk in the door - books and coffee!

I occasionally like to craft, so Hobby Lobby is my go to. They are Christian owned and operated, and I really appreciate businesses that have Christian values. This is also my favorite place for seasonal decor.

Image result for nordstrom

I have a love affair for all things Nordstrom. 
Love Nordstrom!

For all my bath products...

And my favorite place for PJS and unmentionables!

Are your favorite stores on this list? 
Let me know if you have any suggestions on great places to shop!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Friday Favorites!


Hey, there! 

Happy Friday!

This has been a pretty uneventful week for me. I'm still glad to see the weekend though! As always, I'm linking up with AndreaErika and Narci for Friday Favorites. I'm also linking up with some others for the first time, so welcome new readers from our new linky partners!

I took Peanut to see Mom. She loves her little "granddog"!

This was right before she squeezed his throat and he yelped as loud as possible...

Don't sit your cereal on the couch for two seconds, even just to fast forward the DVR.

Lazy afternoon with P

I made the best Pina Colada cake. Recipe coming soon!

When Boyfriend is here, P will be by his side 24/7.

I received a sweet note from the Africa University choir for hosting them at the nursing home. The residents absolutely loved them, their music and style!

Selfie with Mom when I was working on a future blog post.
That's about it. Short and sweet!
And again, welcome new readers! Please come back soon!

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake

How good does this Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake look y'all?!

It TASTES even better!

And it's super easy. My kind of recipe!

  • 1 pint fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease an 8x4 loaf pan (do this well, or it sticks terribly!)
  • In one mixing bowl, combine butter, sugar, lemon juice and eggs
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt
  • Stir bowl two into egg mixture
  • Fold in blueberries (I find it easier to coat the berries in just a little flour before pouring them in the batter. It helps them float rather than fall to the bottom!)
  • Pour into the greased loaf pan
  • Bake for 60 minutes


This is my first Vogue Happiness recipe!
Do you guys want more?

Come back tomorrow with this week's Friday Favorites!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August Goals!

 I cannot believe it is already August! 

I'm not complaining because that means I'm that much closer to fall and cool weather. I saw this on Instagram this morning...

Isn't that the truth?! 

Before we talk about my August goals, let's take a look back at July's.

1. Find a good illuminator - I tried two. 

This did not work on me. It soaked in like foundation and left little to no glow.

This one is good, but I know I can find something better. I will at least use this one up.

2. Get outside more - I went on one walk. It's so blasted hot and humid no one wants to be out there longer than we have to. Good ole south Mississippi. I did join a gym this month, so I can at least get the exercise benefits without dying of heat stroke.

3.  Plan a girls night - Didn't even have time to try. We have had some lunch dates, so can I count that?!

4. Read more fun books - I managed to squeeze one in and enjoyed it. Sometimes it's nice to mindlessly read for entertainment. I read Tina Fey's Bossypants.

5. Take Peanut to the vet - Done. And he didn't bite me for once!

This is not edited. It's just how my phone caught his eyes that night!
This is my sweet baby after he goes to the vet. He goes all chihuahua on me!

So, what are my August goals?

1. Get outside - I'm gonna try this one again. I live on a beautiful lake, and I need to be more intentional about enjoying it. 

2. Read 2 more fun books - Here's hoping!

3. Write 5 more devotionals - I need to keep writing. I have tons of ideas jotted down on sticky notes, things that God has laid on my heart. I need to put them to paper before they leave me.

4. Create an attitude of gratitude project - This will probably be something as simple as a tweet of what I'm grateful for each day. It's better to share the good on social media than what we normally see. 

5. Start grad school - YAY!
(Ask me again next month...!)

What are your goals for the month? I always love hearing from you!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Show and Tell Tuesday!

Happy Tuesday!

It's time for another Show & Tell where I'm linking up with Andrea to share back to school traditions.

Originally I thought I would be skipping this post because I don't have kids in school, so what would I really have to share? I could always throw it back to some school pictures from the 80s - not!

But then I received some really good news!
Super exciting news!

I've been accepted to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary for a Masters in Theology!

Whoop whoop!

I've never been so excited to go back to school!

I don't have much to show or tell yet, but I did want to share the good news with you guys.

Do you have any suggestions regarding online classes? There were very few of those when I graduated college 9 years ago, so I don't really know what to expect. I'd love to hear from you if you've ever taken one.

My next Show and Tell post will be on who I was in high school! 

Have a great day!

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Monday, August 3, 2015

August Pinspired!

It's time to get Pinspired!

I love Pinterest. 
I can always, always get inspired by home decor ideas, recipes and of course, fashion!
This month I'm really loving the layered necklace look. It's nothing new, but with fall approaching it adds a little something extra to outfits. 

Here are a few looks that stood out to me:

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I love hearing from you, so feel free to comment with likes or thoughts for future posts.

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