Our Dream for 2016

2016 is going to be a banner year in our home, so big we’re already in the planning stages now. It will start with Marty turning 40, then our 20th wedding anniversary, E turns 16, Conner will be 18 and I will turn 40 that fall.

For a long time E has asked to go to New York for her 16th birthday and Conner has asked to go to the Tour de France the summer he is 18. So we will be doing both of those things that year.

The plan is for the kids to go to France by themselves for a month or so before. Our friend Fanette has long offered for the kids to come stay with her for an extended period of time. So we’re going to take her up on that offer.

Then Marty and I will fly over to meet up. We want to go see several stages of the Tour, go to Disneyland Paris and see Fanette.

We plan on taking the Chunnel to the England and finally making my life long dream of seeing England a reality. I have friends there I want to see as well as stalking Royals.


These are huge dreams for a huge year, it’s going to take a lot of saving and a lot of prayer but I think anything is possible.

It’s exciting to think about, wish,dream and plan for 2016.


A few blogs back, I touched on forgiveness and stated I would share later about forgiveness. I’m not an expert but I am pretty well versed on the subject. I have had to forgive some really tough things in my life and also ask for forgiveness myself from others.

We all know, I am an emotional mess. I can be tough to deal with at times and later have had to march back and ask for forgiveness for letting my emotions get in the way. My dear friend Staci and I have been through some really tough times and our friendship is proof of what forgiveness can be.

As some of you know, my relationships with my blood sisters is non exsistent. I have been very deeply hurt and have let go. Do I love them? yes, do I forgive them? yes but do I choose to have a relationship with them? no. Doesn’t mean I hold any grudges or hard feelings, I have forgiven and moved forward.

Unforgiveness is like a monkey on your back or like a pack mule’s load strapped to your back. Carrying around grudges and anger only makes you feel worse. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean what they did was okay or that you condone it. Forgiving means you’re releasing yourself from anger and burden.

You don’t have to speak with someone or tell them they’re forgiven. You can forgive them in your own heart and mind. By carrying unforgiveness, it only let’s what the person did continue to control your life and mind.

For me, forgiveness comes from my deep faith. I am forgiven so I forgive. Prayer is my way of letting go and forgiving. I give it over to God and let go. For others of you this may come through other forms.

Forgiveness is freeing. It helps you live a happier life without being weighted down with anger, pain and self punishment.




Matthew 6:14-15

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.





The Open Door

I grew up being taught that your home always has an open door. My Grandparents both sets lived in homes with two front doors, both always open and unlocked. More importantly, homes always open to visitors. You could stop by any time and know you would be welcomed with a cold drink and friendly conversation.

It’s truly the one thing I have aimed to have in my own home. Since moving away from the Southern California area in 1999, we have always opened our home to visitors. Living with our backdoor to the Sequoias and Yosemite, we had wonderful places to take our company. We also lived along the main thoroughfare in California allowing people to stop in on trips to and from places.

We were lucky to host many friends from around the world at our California home and family from Southern California many times as well. We love playing host, preparing our home for company and sharing our lives.

It’s truly something I was raised to do. Always have an open door, always invite friends to eat with you and always sit around the table and make memories. It’s what we do as a family, its just in our blood to have company.

My parents also were big on taking trips to see family. We went to Kansas to see my nana, we often made the trip to Visalia growing up to see my Aunt Pat. Arizona to see my Aunt Donna and Uncle Bill. We traveled a lot to see family and friends.

We’ve had some wonderful visits with friends and memories made. In Central California we had company a couple of times a year.

Since moving to TN, we have been a revolving door of company. I guess because we live off I-40, a main thoroughfare across the nation. It’s been company heaven, I think in two years, we have possibly had more company than we did in five years living in Visalia.

I also love going to visit my Aunt Donna and Uncle Bill, they always have an open door, a big table and good food. I love going to spend time at their home with their family. They’re always asking me, ”When are you coming to visit? ”

Marty is always patient with me and my revolving door. He didn’t have the same experience growing up and even though he may not say much when company comes, he likes having an open door.

We always get the same compliment, your house is so relaxing and comfortable. We don’t have a lot of room but we always have a place for friends and family.

My door is always open, the couch is always free ( maybe someday there will be a guest bedroom) the table is always ready to be sat around and we will always be thrilled to have you. I always like wondering, ”Who will come next?”


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A/N As I was writing this blog, our favorite visitor Sarah called me to chat. She must have known I was thinking of her.

Time Machine Wednesday( because I’m Exhauasted)

I am tired tonight so instead of Time Machine Tuesday  it’s Time Machine Wednesday. I love going through old blogs and revisiting past adventures. So let’s visit November 19th for the past seven years.


My very first blog post ( which is actually November 18, 2005) http://www.julesmpg.com/2005/11/sadnovember-172005/

November 19, 2007- All about the many names of Elizabeth http://www.julesmpg.com/2007/11/whats-her-name/

November 19, 2008- Recipes http://www.julesmpg.com/2008/11/how-about-some-recipes/

November 19, 2009 http://www.julesmpg.com/2009/11/i-totally-forgot-where-i-was-headed-with-that-last-post/

November 19, 2010 http://www.julesmpg.com/2010/11/grammatically-prejudiced/

November 19, 2011 http://www.julesmpg.com/2011/11/getting-fit-weekly-report/

November 19, 2012 http://www.julesmpg.com/2012/11/conner-as-the-tramp/

November 19, 2013 Fabianese!! http://www.julesmpg.com/2013/11/im-turning-fabianese/

20 Years

Another milestone passed this summer, one I haven’t had time to write about. This summer marked 20 years since I graduated from high school. Time has flown by so quickly, seems like just yesterday in some respects and in others a lifetime ago.

Over the last twenty years, I have come to realize that my high school experience was rare. Most people can’t wait to leave and hated every minute. They leave, move forward and never look back. For me, I had a GREAT high school experience. My time as a Buena Park Coyote is one I look back on with great fondness.

The school I went to was a melting pot of culture with a racially diverse student body. I wasn’t raised to see color and certainly everyone I knew was of some different ethnicity. I have learned outside of Southern California that is a rare thing. I knew nothing different and was shocked to learn that racism still exists in this country.

I was a floater. Most people hang out with one group of friends, I kind of floated from group to group. Fish, Debate team, the punk/goth crowd, the smart people. I never committed to sticking with one group of friends, I floated amongst the groups. The main group I hung around with was a group of guys in which I was the only non-girlfriend.

I loved high school so much that when Marty and I got married, I invited three of my teachers to the wedding. Two of the teachers came to wish me well. We had wonderful teachers who loved their jobs and their students. One of them and I have kept in touch on and off throughout the years.

For me, the main thing that came from high school were the friendships. I am very lucky to still be friends with almost all of my high school friends. I can only think of one that I don’t speak to and that isn’t for lack of trying on my part. We are lucky to be a tight knit class that has remained in touch.

I haven’t made it to a reunion yet, I have thankfully been able to meet up with most of my friends throughout the years. This is my way of marking the occasion and reflecting on a wonderful journey that was truly a rare experience.



Ninth Blogaversary

This past Saturday, Just Jules turned nine years old. Seems like just yesterday that I started writing this blog on Myspace, moving to Blogger and now to my own hosted website. Truthfully, it just never even occurred to me that I would still be blogging nine years later.

It started as my cousins and a couple of high school friends reading my blog. I never imagined that someday people around the world would be reading this thing. 264, 290 views later, this blog has taken on a life of its own.

Some days I feel like calling it quits and packing it in. Who the heck cares what I write about? or what I have to say? Then I get an email or a comment that tells me, I have made a difference. I have many stories to tell, maybe someone will want to share their story with my readers? I can make a difference and bring light.

Mainly its my therapy, my way of getting things out, remembering and moving forward

This blog was my way of grieving the loss of my grandparents. My way of sharing our journey with kidney failure, organ donation and transplant. It’s a baby book for my kids, a scrapbook for my family, way to love on friends around the world sharing them with others.

So here’s to at least one more year of Just Jules, I have to make it an even ten and get those views up to 300k, maybe then with even numbers, I will wrap this thing up. Who knows? nine years ago, I would have laughed if you told me this blog would have a name and I would still be writing it ten years later.

They Don’t Make Em’ Like They Used To

Tonight I found myself singing, ”Baby if you ever wondered, wondered what became of me.” and yesterday I made Elizabeth watch two episodes of Three’s Company so I could hear the theme song. Earlier this week, I was listening to The Dukes of Hazzard theme song while taking a show. I’ve also been catching old episodes of The Love Boat before work everyday. They really don’t make television show theme songs like they used to and I consider myself a connoisseur of television show theme songs.

Growing up in the late 70’s and 80’s, there were so many great television show theme songs. I still find myself singing them to this day. As previously stated, I was called ”The Walking T.V Guide” by my parents. I had a list of television shows that I religiously watched weekly.

Funny enough, I barely watch any television at all anymore. The show I do watch? a show about the 1980’s. Go figure.

Here are some of my favorite all time television theme songs. Share your favorite theme song in the comments, via tweet or Facebook comment. I am looking forward to hearing everyone’s responses.

My first favorite, I still get the chills when I hear it today

I still love this song. Once in Nashville, I saw Cooter’s place and freaked out! My cousin Jessie had no clue her Dad bought me a bird that I named Duke.

My cousin’s and I religiously watched this show and played out every episode on the weekends. Did you know my mom used to work for Fergie’s grandpa and dated her uncle Jack, whom she named her baby after. True story. This led to a binge watch of videos on Youtube with E, I had to explain all the characters and premise to her

Sometimes you gotta, “Take the good and take the bad and there you have, The Facts of Life”. Who didn’t love Tootie?

The aformentioned WKRP, It always makes me smile

Of course, my mom made sure I knew this one including naming Mouseketeers. Still a great memory having met them all but Annette at Disneyland

Of course, this one meant it was time for Grandma to go to work. Great memories of watching this with my cousins

This one has them all, Greatest American Hero, Charles in Charge, Family Ties, The Love Boat, Bosom Buddies and so many I forgot about. Though it does start of with The Knight Rider theme which terrified me and was the source of a recurring nightmare in the 1980’s

I could go on and on about how they don’t make them like they used to. Life has changed and times have changed, ”Whatever happened to predictability?”

It’s Good to Be a Tennessee Vol!

When we realized that we were moving to Knoxville, we started researching the area and finding out information. Before we moved here we were aware that our new city was home to the famous University of Tennessee. Being from Southern California and the Central Valley, we were aware of collegiate loyalties. Fresno State, UCLA, USC and our course our beloved Stanford.

We thought we knew college loyalties and rivalries. I am here to tell you, the PAC 10 and the Mountain West conference,  DO NOT hold a candle to the SEC!

Before I moved, a friend of mine said, ”You better know the words to Rocky Top” and she was right!

There is a saying in the south, ”God, sweet tea and the SEC” and they mean it. We came thinking we knew and we did not fully understand. During the fall…oh who am I kidding, Vol Orange is an entity in itself. It is EVERYWHERE!

When we have company, our first thing is to tell them, there is a UT Vol section in every store. I mean every store including convenience stores and gift shops.

Marty was in uniform at work last year, his first Friday before a Vol game. A little girl walked up to him, tugged on his pant leg and said, ( in a sweet southern voice) ” WHERE IS YOUR ORANGE!?” it is almost a crime to not wear orange in Knoxville. I prefer to wear grey with orange on it, red hair and orange just don’t go together.

We learned the words to Rocky Top, the way they’re sung by the TN fans. We bought our Vol orange and even Elizabeth is a Vol fan. It was decided before we moved this would be the one sport team that we would all root for together.

We have viewed Neyland Stadium, which by the way is the fifth largest stadium in the United States, not just college football, in the U.S. period.

Until today, we have never been to a UT game or been inside Neyland Stadium. I have been to large sporting events but this was like nothing I have ever experienced. It’s truly a sight to behold watching 102,455 people in orange, singing Rocky Top as Smokey the UT mascot ( a live blue tick hound) runs along the side lines.

My Dad bought tickets for Conner for his birthday. My Grandpa took us to our first sporting event and Dad sent Conner to his. It was a wonderful day, truly love the sense of community being a TN Vol fan brings. Never did I think that our whole family would enjoy a sporting event together rooting for the same team.


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Good Ol’ Rocky Top will always be home sweet home to us!



Happy 17th Birthday Conner: The Living Years and the Story of Conner

Every year I write the kid’s a birthday blog for the past eight years. This blog is a continuation of their baby books. Each year, I reflect on the people they’re becoming and how sad I am they’re growing up. I cry every birthday since about age 10.

Sweet Conner, he hasn’t changed a bit since the day he was born. He never cried unless he was hungry, he’s happy go lucky, very rarely do you see him upset unless he’s fighting with his sister and then you see his bad side.

He’s a hard worker, smart, thoughtful, funny and sweet. I get compliments often on how respectful and polite he is. This year he worked hard to graduated from a local civic program and is taking it very seriously. He has decided to follow in the steps of his dad as a career choice. Now we’re planning for his future career and graduation next year.

I have never shared the ”story of Conner” on the blog. I have shared about Conner, his misdeeds and mishaps, his birth story but never the story behind our decision to have a baby at 21. Also as today is World Type 1 diabetes awareness day, I thought it would be a fitting homage to his grandfather Martin whom he never met.

Marty and I met when he was 18 and I was 17. We got engaged when we were both 18 and planned a two year engagement slated to marry December 07,1996. Marty’s grandma Helen fell and became very ill, eventually we discovered she had a brain tumor in November of 1995 and she passed away December of 1995.

Marty and his dad Martin lived with Helen. She was a caretaker for Martin and helped him raise Marty. Martin Sr., was a type 1 diabetic who was plagued with horrible suffering from the disease. His kidneys and subsequent kidney transplant had failed. He lost both legs and most of one hand to this horrible disease. His heart was very weak and we knew even though he was 46, he didn’t have long to live.

So the day Grandma Helen died, we moved up our wedding to four months away in March of 1996. We wanted Marty’s dad to see us be married.



We lived with Marty’s dad to care for him during our first year of married life. January 1997 Martin lost his fight with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 47. Marty and I were 20 years old and had been married for 10 months. To say Marty was devastated is putting it lightly, it would take him years to get past losing his dad.

In February of 1997, Marty wrote me a Valentines card and made me dinner. At dinner he told me that he was devastated his dad didn’t live to see our children. We had planned on waiting five years to have kids due to our young age. He asked me that night if I would consider having a baby immediately? he said, ” I don’t want to wait any longer, we waited too long already and my Dad didn’t live long enough for him to hold my child.”

So we made the decision to have a baby as soon as we could. Two months later, I was pregnant with Conner. He was born nine months after Martin passed away. I have always thought of this song to describe that year in our lives.


We often wish Martin could have met Conner, they would’ve been best friends. Conner is truly our blessing of 1997 and we’ve always been glad we threw that five year plan out the window. He brings joy and happiness to so many and healed our hearts from grief.




( on world Type 1 day, we can also celebrate that Conner has been the generation of Timms men that does not have Type 1 diabetes.)