Saturday, April 14, 2007

The real "Secret"

I have spent time in thought, reflection, prayer, and reading and rereading several comments and emails regarding the recent 'scrap page controversy' here on my blog.
First of all, let me say that I appreciate all of the feedback, and it is good to 'hear and read' that so many people take an interest into what is said here, or what image is portrayed. I have to admit, that I never intended my blog to be anything but mere fun and games for me- a way to share pictures of kids with my family and friends who like to 'see' how we are doing, and then as I got more involved in scrapbooking and the ever-growing community that exists there, I have used this blog as a place to capture my memories, my thoughts, and play with my own creativity and learning that is still going on in my life everyday.
So, whether it is a new recipe of Rachael Ray's Raspberry Tart that captured the attention of my tastebuds, or the sticky smile of one of my kids, or a skunk that Chip ran over or the ongoing dates that cycle through the calendar and bring memories and reflections of Teagan and all we have lived through...I have been clear from the beginning. I blog about anything, but I try to keep it real.
"Real" to me, meaning, I am who I am. I share my real thoughts, concerns, my quirks, my perspective, and try to just be me. The good, the bad and everything in between. As a communication major, I understand that much is lost in the message when there is no facial expression, no tone to be heard, and often, limited context to the words that are written on a blog. So part of that comes into play- especially in this 'blog environment' where we bloggers have limited knowledge on any given day, who might stop by and read our posts. I understand that my perspective is not going to be the same as everyone else's...which is precisely why it is a 'narrow view' here. I can only blog about my own experiences; the things that happen to me, or how I respond to them, or my thoughts on events that occur...that is my basis for 'material'.
One of the themes that has grown and come from my experience, is the way I approach life and how I live as a result of tragedy that struck my family and killed Teagan. My faith is the only thing that has given me Hope, Comfort, Strength and Joy in my life since that day in July 2001. For me, anything and everything I do is only because God has given me the ability to do so. Each breath I take comes not from my will or based on any merit I have earned, but simply because God gives me breath. If you had been at the scene at the time when the car drove into the restaurant where my family and others were dining, you would probably be amazed that only two were killed, and that the rest of the surviving injuries have healed as well as they have. I was struck from behind, by a car driving 55-70 mph into the wall just behind my chair...I was flipped into the air and thrown several feet, among flying glass and debris, my legs and body hit a counter and ledge , and yet I was able to jump to my feet seconds after falling to the ground, where I stepped over a few paces, and gathered Teagan off the ground. I carried her out of the building and laid her down, when I saw that she was not breathing, and had a large gash in the back of her head.
It was at that moment, when I knew she would not survive, and the only way I would be able to was to turn to my God...my Faith. For some reason, I survived that incident. People die in lesser crashes and in 'freak accidents' all the time. I understand that I could have easily died that day, along with many others.
Part of that has been the basis for how I view my life since then. It has made me aware that none of us knows when we may face death, and that we need to be ready at anytime. I am certain of my faith and live with an assurance and hope of Heaven for all eternity. It gives me great comfort and I have total peace about death. I do not fear death...but yet, I seek to live life, as God continues to give me breath.
I am blogging and sharing my life here, now five and a half years after my brush with death. I write as one who has experienced great pain, and hurt and sorrow and grief, and who continues to 'bear burdens' and has ongoing challenges (physically, mentally and emotionally) as a result of that moment in time.
In the early weeks and months after this happened, had I kept a blog, you would have seen a 'darker' version of who I am today. As I said, I had faith and knowledge that God would meet my needs and somehow 'rebuild' my life, but it was a constant struggle and it consumed much of my energy and the way I looked at life was very different.
I write that, because I think that for some of the people who stumble onto my blog or just follow comments here and read bits and pieces of my posts, that part of the message that I wish to share gets lost in all the 'fun and games' that I originally kept this blog for in the beginning. Someone who doesn't read the link to the article giving more background, or someone who comes here and just looks at the pictures, sees only a 'glimpse' of who I am, and where I've come from, and how much I have had to rely on God to get to this point.
I make no claims to have Joy and happiness in life because of anything that I have done. I have done nothing to deserve goodness and blessing in my life...and yet I have it- full and in abundance. It blows my mind sometimes...that my messed up, broken, hurt and pain have been replaced with peace and comfort and blessing.
THAT is what I was writing of in the recent Tootsie Roll scrap page that caused a stir. I recognize that people all over the world suffer all sorts of horrific things. I understand I am not alone in that or unique to pain and grief and that life is unfair. It happens to everyone, I believe, to varying degrees. I also know, from the doctors and neuropsychologists and other 'experts' whom we have spent time with and been cared for by, that our personal trauma often results in some ongoing (sometimes throughout a person's entire lifetime) issues and scars that need specific care and attention.
THAT is what makes me want to share my story and be 'bold' about expressing my joy...because some of the books in my collection and the prognosis' we were given were grim and depressing. Chip and I have relied on our faith in God, our friends have been amazing wherever we have lived since Teagan's death, and our families have stood by us and that is who I give credit to for the way I 'look' in my life at this time. I write about the 'flavor' that my ordinary life has in light of all that...and that I've had to look hard to find beauty and goodness and love after tragedy, but that it is there for the taking, is truly amazing!
This is part of what I wrote on the scrap page, "I've lived some of life's toughest challenges. I've endured hardships...but at the Center, I have found PURE JOY!" It is to me, the miracle and blessing that only comes from God- no matter who is facing the hardship, no matter what shape or form that hardship comes, and no matter what the outcome...that God can pick up the pieces of our messed up, broken lives, and turn them into something beautiful-worth living again.
Without God, I was nothing before this happened, and I would be nothing without Him since it has happened. That's what struck me in my thoughts, and what my 'message' (for those who want to know what I am trying to say at times) is for anyone who reads Nitty.Gritty.
Christ is my PURE JOY. I talk about how I have to 'create my own joy' at times, but that too, I believe, only comes from God. I do not believe that Joy in life exists outside of God. We can experience happiness, deep peace, comfort, bliss, all sorts of fun or good emotions, but only in seeking God can we ever find meaningful and everlasting true Joy.
I doubted that I would ever feel any joy in life again, after Teagan died and our lives and hearts were torn to pieces. So I started to pray for God to give me joy and the ability to see beauty in life again. That is what you see on Nitty.Gritty. some five years, and hundreds of prayers and tears and going humbly to the feet of God, later.
Any goodness or fun or smile you see in my life or on my face or however I present it on this blog, is not about me...but only about Him. There is nothing in my life good- apart from God. My hope is that God will use the miracle He has given me (that is the ability to have happiness and contentment and peace and so forth, in spite of Teagan's death), and show others that they can have this same Joy that I know and love and thrive on in life. If God can bring goodness out of the depths of tragedy, than surely He can do it in the life of anyone. It's not just me. In fact, most of the time I wonder why God would even give me any blessing at all? I deserve nothing.
I have only believed in God, and asked for His mercy and Joy. He heard my cries, and I am now living a life that I wouldn't trade for anything.
If that somehow comes across as boastful, or proud, or too 'Jody-focused', then I apologize and I hope that God will show you that it is simply what God looks like when He chooses to display Himself in this broken, messed up world. I consider myself nothing...and God is my everything. Nitty.Gritty. is just the way I 'display' God in one small aspect of my life. My hope is that each one of us will continue to be nothing on our own, but to be "amazing because of Christ".

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just must leave a message...I really don't think you must defend yourself or anything you do. I do see it as a blessing because you can hit home how important Christ is to a successful, joyful life. But other than that, I wouldn't waste your time or energy on people whose whole goal is to bring others down. Keep being the person Christ has called you to be.

Susan said...

I came to your blog through Noah Steven's blog and am horrified by the rude comments about your scrapbook pages. Unfortunately people in this worls are often mean and nasty. If you feel that way about Jody's blog here is a thought...DON'T read it!! I guess I just follow the rule I learned in kindergarten.."If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all!"

SS
www.crazymatty.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Words seem meaningless, after your post. It was beautiful. Thank you.

eileen said...

Don't ever apologize for being proud of yourself! Everyone should be proud of who they are and what they have lived through or live with. Any by the way to those who don't like your page about yourself. If we as scrappers don't scrap pages about us and only scrap about others or events, then no one later will know who we were or what we thought or why we scrapped in the first place. You keep doing what you are doing!!

Steph M said...

I'm not quite sure why people won't let you enjoy your life. The joy that you speak of and experience is IN SPITE OF OUR CIRCUMSTANCES. That is true, "deep in the soul" joy that can only come from Christ. I say, "you go,girl"! Keep doing what you are doing. Giving God the glory is all we can do. His grace is the only reason we are all still standing.

Sheri said...

Christ IS Pure Joy. When I saw your scrap page it was apparent to me that Christ has worked through your tragedy and your life to get you to where you are. It was nothing but inspiring to me and it's your story....who can argue with our stories? And what better way to glorify our God? He is so amazing!! Thank you for sharing.
Sheri
sheria@new.rr.com

JSM said...

As seen in the news this week, almost everything we do or say offends someone... you are being real and acknowledging who/where it is you get your strength...
Don't let the naysayers get too far under your skin - just enough to keep you humble :)
Thank you for your sincere transparency and your willingness to share it all with the blogging world.
-judy

Sheri said...

Oh my! I just found your page today and am finding myself moved between tears and laughter at an alarming pace (Especially when I noted that precious Teagan was born only days before my daughter).

I love your blog, and your scrapbook page and will be hanging around.

Anonymous said...

A couple of thoughts I have...blogs are where people put down their thoughts and ideas. Duh...yes "that" would make it personal!!! The other thing is when we talk about our faith (again very personal) that will offend for sure...because the Bible says it will. If you read Jody's blog and are offended then leave but take into consideration this is her and it can be "ALL" about her...if she chooses. I personally don't get that from this. I get that a wonderful woman is trying her best to live her life at it's fullest. That she's sharing with us (voyeours if you really get down to it)a glimpse of who she is. I love her creativity and I'm sure "IF" I ever met her in person, I'd love her just as well. Blessings to you Jody!!

Lisa said...

Hi Jody,
Just found your blog the other day. I feel like I landed in the middle of a war of words.
I personally do not blog, but I understand and appreciate why people do. As a writer, I write because....

This is your blog, write what you want, how you want, remember you're not a magazine with subscribers... if people leave, they leave. Do what's in your heart to do.

I will also add two things that the Father wants you to know...
You said you never did anything to deserve goodness and blessing in your life and that you deserve nothing. God wants you to know that you did do something to receive goodness and blessing. You made a choice... you choose Him. He is goodness, He is blessing... and as your Father He wants to pour out both in your life. You're His daughter and He with-holds no good thing from you.
It would seem you're a good parent... do you want your children thinking they don't deserve anything good? No, of course not. God doesn't want you feeling this way.

He loves you, despite what others say... and He's been there for you.
He was with you the night of the accident, and with Teagan when she died. Not His Will... crap happens in a world where we have free will.

You do deserve goodness, because He is goodness, blessing, because He longs to bless you. Just put out your arms and receive it.

Let God's Word be true and everyman a liar... you are the apple of his eye, the tootsie roll on His t-shirt.

Write because...

Because He's the One that put it in you to share.

That's reason enough.

Anonymous said...

Ok to the Lisa below, you don't know the God of the Bible if you say that it was not God's will. I would not want to live in a world where God was not completely in control and we are just victims of man's free will.
There is no peace and comfort in that kind of God.

nola said...

Just leave Jody alone. She knows the Lord and that's all that matters. Who are you to tell her how to handle life and religion. Get off her case and let her worship her Lord as she knows how. Concentrate on your own misunderstandings!

Lisa said...

Anyone can know the Will of God by knowing the Word of God.

God's desire is for us to live long, blessed lives, like days of heaven on earth. Deut 11:21

God does not go around ending the lives of His children, or causing us to suffer to teach us something... that is the way of the enemy, to kill, steal and destroy.

Jesus came that we would have life and life more abundantly.
John 10:10

Yes, we will have tribulation because of the world we live in... but we're not to be afraid, but to be of good cheer because Jesus has overcome the world. John 16:33

Psalm 91:16 "With long life will I sastify him and show him my salvation."

The Word of God is the Will of God, so yes... I can know His will.

Shelly said...

I wonder if all the "anonymous" comments were only from one source? Hmmmmm.... It angers me when someone trys to judge based on the pouring out of your feelings. You lay it out there for support. Not for someone to use it as their platform for who knows what. What's the point?

This is your blog... you should be able to write what you feel, right? Just my humble opinion. :)

Don't waste your time on these comments. Delete them and keep on posting your fun, inspiring posts!

Suzanne said...

Although I do not have the sort of faith that you have, I greatly admire your honesty and your openness and respect 100% your beliefs.

I continue to be amazed that people feel justified in leaving negative comments on blog posts.

I was bought up to believe if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

Sorry for the rough time folks have been giving you on your own personal space.

Anonymous said...

jody, i love you..
rose

Adrienne said...

Jesus never justified Himself to the Pharisees...you don't have to justify yourself to the modern day ones...

Anonymous said...

Lisa, God ALLOWS suffering. He IS in control of it. Just go read Job.
God allowed it to test Job's faith.

Amanda said...

I don't usually post comments, but this is bothering me. I really do not understand why people post such things on a PERSONAL blog. The blog is called "nitty gritty" and Jody really is entitled to write whatever she wants. As others have said, NO ONE is making you come to this site and read it. I do not know anyone with whom I agree on everything they say and do. Why should Jody, a stranger to most people who read this, be any different? Sometimes, a "dialogue" can be indicated to discuss why one believes certain things, other times you just need to let the differences go. Judgements, accusations, name-calling, rudeness, are rarely, if ever, necessary (especially on a personal blog for goodness sake!). I know that I tried to be mad for a few days since I'm a big fan of Fashion Bug, but really, should it matter to me what Jody thinks? No. If you aren't interested in scrapbooking, don't read those posts, if you don't want to read about something else, DON'T. This is a chronicle of the life of one person who chooses to let others read about it. We all have a choice to stop reading if what is written isn't what we want to read.
Keep blogging, Jody!

Mixed Up Me said...

Jody,

Don't let a few people get you down. No one is forcing them to read your blog . . .

Have a great day!

Ryan

Erin H. said...

Jody...you so DO NOT need to defend your thoughts and feelings! This is YOUR blog, YOUR thoughts, YOUR feelings....the rest of us are just lucky to somehow be a part of YOUR life from the outside! You and your family are wonderful people and unfortunately bad apples show up in everybodies back yard at some point. Don't let that get you down! Keep your chin up and just BE!!!

Anonymous said...

Jody,
Every time you address the "anonymous" posters you are allowing Satan to win. The time you take thinking about the remarks and defending your position, is time away from loving Christ and loving your family.

As hard as it is not to read a response, as soon as it has a negative tone, I challenge you to move onto the next positive one. I, along with so many others, live life differently because of you. We laugh, love, cry, look for joy in unusal places, do fun things with our kids, appreciate our husbands, and most importantly choose Christ everyday because of you.

The "anonymous" posters know your heart just as we do. They have accused you of "fame addiction" but truth be told they are the ones seeking all the attention. I just imagine the smile that comes across their face as people get defensive and give them a voice. I am thankful that they read your words. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to pray for those who are searching because whether they admit it or not, you have stirred something in their heart.

Don't let Satan burden you with their words and accusations. Don't defend, don't acknowledge, and please continue to share freely with us.

You are appreciated, loved and admired.

~*AMY*~ said...

Jody I'm so sorry you have to have all this senseless drama.....you are a true inspiration and I think you rock.

KA aka jeffs*bride said...

:) Beautiful! I love reading your blog. I'm at a place in my walk with Christ that feels stale. I know that sounds awful and harsh, but He knows my heart and no point in lying. I love reading your blog. It makes me feel grace on days that I am struggling to.

1) I would be sad without all the hair- and even the hidden pile of dental floss I found today. WHY does he hide things? I can't imagine my life otherwise though! I love the boy. It's learning to live with someone that is odd!
2)I ALWAYS make him sit on my feet to warm them :) And also, when he had stitches in his thumb I quickly realized the importance of needing a pickle jar opener! I blogged it! Great minds...
3) If you really get interested in a machine let me know- I have a much more reasonable source than ebay ;)

kaylaaimee

Kim said...

Why is it that one negative comment/experience is so hard to let go? I am the first to admit that I have let things like this get to me...and every time I allow someone else's insensitivity get to me I end up feeling even worse. The tongue truly is a double edged sword and can even be felt when writing or in this case typing. It is hard for me to understand why someone would even want to leave a negative comment. We all need to love and encourage one another...even when our ideas don't always agree. We need to build each other up. I and many others love your blog!!!! My prayer is that you will feel genuine love, respect and support from those of us who have been touched by your stories. Thank you for sharing!!! Love from Kentucky!!!

Lisa said...

nit·ty-grit·ty
1. the essential substance or details of a matter; basics; crux: Let's skip the chitchat and get down to the nitty-gritty.

2. fundamental, detailed, or probing: nitty-gritty questions.

3. direct and practical: nitty-gritty advice; a nitty-gritty system.

That pretty much says it all, doesn't it? I mean, sometimes titles are deceiving but not here. I'm thankful that you share your Nitty.Gritty. I've learned so much here. I've been in your shoes in many ways and still learn from YOU! So, the heck with all the bad comments! I {heart} Nitty.Gritty. forever!!!

tammy said...

Hiya Jody~
What a great post. Like others, I feel bad that you feel the need to have to explain your postings, comments and thoughts on life. It is YOUR blog and you can do/say whatever the heck you please. I am just glad that you have the strength to keep on blogging and not let a few "ignorant people" {in my opinion} get you down! You know that I look up to you like many others {otherwise I wouldn't email you for advice =)}! God bless and keep on blogging!!! =)
~Tammy in N.Michigan~

Laura said...

Sweet Jody, not sure WHAT to say - just that I love ya, your blog, your SCRAPBOOK LAYOUTS, cards, funny little stories, adorable fun photos, and reading up on your thoughts and life. I hope you are not getting down about all the ridiculousness (is that a word???)going on in your comments. This is YOUR blog, and you should do and say whatever you want. If others don't like it - then they should GO SOMEWHERE ELSE! ROCK ON JODY!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Sometimes the truth HURTS. It's apparant that some of your readers just can't take it. The fact that they come back time and time again should be all the validation you need to keep blogging just the way you do. Nitty gritty style is who you are, and nobody has the right to try to change that. No matter how much controversy they try to create here.
I love your words, your raw way of expressing yourself at times, and the way that it circles back to God no matter what- the good, bad and everything in between- as you put it.
Nitty Gritty is refreshing and honest. How can someone NOT love that!
Someone you don't know but is inspired by you time and again.
-KT in Indinana

Juel said...

Everytime I come here I receive exactly what I need!! You are doing everything right Jody!!

BE HAPPY......CREATE JOY

Anonymous said...

Why pick up the rope and tug with those who disapprove? Doesn't it get old after awhile? It's YOUR blog, baby! =)

Anonymous said...

Not that you need another message but i just happened along your blog. I'm a wanna be scrapper I just have a hard time getting it together. (lol) I so loved your pages, and I've enjoyed reading bits and pieces of your blog. I'm sorry you've had a couple negative posts. I'm also sorry for your loss. Keep holding on to Jesus!

Paula

Kim said...

No need to defend yourself. I saw nothing wrong with that page. Bless you!

Jennifer said...

I'm a friend of Adrienne's and I came across your great blog through Noah's. Sheesh, sorry about all the drama on your blog lately. I LOVE your artsy style (I'm a bit of an artsy-fartsy myself), fab writing, gorgeous kids and faith in God. Also, I'm so impressed with the kind ways you've been responding to the, sorry, pathetic anonymous comments. Love your blog!!

Anonymous said...

that was one of the most poignant, eloquent, dignified and Christ like answer I could have imagined.

Knowing that I may have answered in anger, in frustrating and hurt and "seeing" you respond with love has "preached to me a sermon that will color my days to come".

your tender words turing away wrath has fed my soul.

thank you.

thank you.

i delight in this spot of joy in my blog days- i appreciate all that you share.
you are a part of my morning coffe though we've never met.

thank you for it all

heather
www.xanga.com/hippmama

Mandy77 said...

I too have come over from Noah's blog and just wanted to say that you don't need to explain yourself to anyone. You don't owe anyone anything. Especially to someone who hides behind an anonymous curtain while pointing big fingers.

Ive begun reading and I can already tell I am going to learn a lot from your story and your strength. This includes your every day life postings. (Tootsie Rolls and all).

I have to thank "anonymous", because of those horrible comments I was able to find your blog.

So congrats "anonymous". For spreading this blog and it's word even farther. Thank you very much.

Mandy

Sam said...

I find myself back at your blog every now and then and am always amazed at your strength. You should never have to defend your joy. But you did so wonderfully. And you have done a lot to deserve all that you do have and all that you have become.

I am not sure that I would have or could have picked up the pieces as well as you have. I cannot even begin to imagine. You have lived every mother's worst fear. And as you continued your journey you have found the joy in honoring Tegens memory and mothering your other children.

You are inspiring (and talented)!
Sam

Chad, MK, and Camp said...

hey jody,
i came across your blog from a friend who is a scrapper--- i found out about the drama through adrienne/noah's blog (i don't know her, just read her blog) when i figured out that you were the *blog writer*, i had to come and read the drama. i am a Christian and a lover of Jesus and my Lord, but i have to admit to the *anonymous* commenters that I DON't TALK ABOUT GOD ON MY BLOG enough or lead anyone to Christ on a daily basis through my blog! SUE ME!!! I really feel embarrassed for those people. i admire the way you have handled it - although i hope that you have let a few cuss words fly in frustration =)
i use my blog all in fun... not as an evangelism tool==== not that talking about Jesus is not fun, but that is not the purpose of my blog- it is to share the silliness that is my mundane life with my tiny family!
so to you, i agree with your *fans* when i say "GO ON WITH YOUR BAD SELF!" you are a wonderful child/woman of God, and i am proud to call you a sister in Christ...
do not let those stinkin' anonymous folks dampen your JOY or hold you back from your true self...
bless your sweet family.
sincerely,
Mary Katherine

Kris said...

Jody,

I just read the comments on your previous post and I can't even believe that! It's so sad that people feel they have to tear others down. You are beautiful and special and a child of God. Stay strong. And just cilck "delete" on those nasty comments. ;)

God Bless!!!!!
Kris