Sunday, September 4, 2011

In This Life

I had an idea, as I celebrate my 34th birthday this September 4, to write about the days of my life. A type of reflection, if you will. As I have thought about this life God has allowed me to live, I feel indescribably BLESSED! God has allowed me to live and learn and experience so much.
**This is written for the sake of our family scrap/blog book, just in case there comes a day that my children are interested in reading this about their mother.**

Somerville, TN was my first HOME. It's where my parents lived when they brought me home form the hospital 34 years ago. I have no recollection of the little house around the corner from my mother's parents and the family farm on Hwy. 64, but the house is still there, and I still think of Somerville as HOME.

However, the house that built me, as Miranda Lambert so well put it, is on a little street in Covington, TN. My parents and I moved to it when I was 6 weeks old. The rest of my life as Nicole Phillips was spent in that house. My parents sold the house to Justin Timberlake's grandparents in 2003. (That's right, THE Justin Timberlake has played football in my old front yard and rested his head under the roof that I slept under for 22 years. Even the likes of Cameron Diaz and Jessica Alba have crossed the threshold of that house. I just thought that was kinda interesting. hehe) I haven't been back in the house since my parents sold it, but many times I have driven past many days of my life were spent there, so many memories...

Running from the front door of that house, I picture in my mind a 5 year old version of myself with pigtails and a blue sailor suit to match my idol, Little Orphan Annie. My mother made the suit, as she did many of my dresses, and I wore it proudly as I sang "Tomorrow". (It's still one of my favorite songs!)

I loved roller skates, especially my Mickey Mouse skates with the Pom-Poms! And I have a scar on my left thigh from a nasty fall while roller skating down my street. I lived for Saturday mornings at Rollies Skating Rink with limbo and the hokey-pokey. I took gymnastics for 9 years and piano for 5 or 6 years. Unfortunately, I have nothing to show for my training in tumbling (no more flips and handsprings for this momma!), and the best thing that came from piano lessons was my ability to read music and my deep admiration for music.

I loved and lived for spending time with my friends as a child, and I am so thankful for the friendships I developed that have lasted a lifetime already. Those were the days!! So much of my time with friends was spent doing things like snow sledding, jumping on the trampoline, riding 4 wheelers, swimming, jumping from cliffs, slumber parties, water skiing, playing tennis and softball, etc.

I was great speller at a young age and a good reader. I was in my first "big school" spelling bee in 2nd grade, and I can still remember how I felt standing on the big stage in front of everyone and spelling into the microphone. I didn't win, but my parents bought me my first Cabbage Patch Kid for trying my best. (The word I misspelled still haunts me to this day!) I made good grades in school without really having to try very hard. This I think I took for granted in later years. I wasn't the top of the class, but I always made the honor roll, was part of academic clubs, and graduated with honors. I probably could have and should have tried harder.

I asked Jesus into my heart when I was 8 years old and my dad and an evangelist from my church played a big part in my decision to become a Christian. I rededicated my life to Christ in Feb. 2010 after I felt like God was convicting me of not placing my whole trust in Him. I have struggled with some of the choices I have made in this life and the experiences life has brought my way, and I realize that I need Him more than ever to just make it every day. Only He is in control of every passing minute, hour, day, month, and year.

Here's some gruesome stuff...I had eczema as a child and the breakouts were worst on my FEET!(Yeah, that was F-U-N!) It got so bad one time that I had to use crutches to walk and I couldn't wear shoes, only cotton socks, until the sores healed. Thankfully, I have outgrown some of that and have only experienced occasional episodes in other places such as my hands and scalp in recent years. I broke my right arm when  was 13, and I have broken 2 bones in each hand. I knocked my big toe nail off at the pool one day while leaping over a lawn chair. I had to have 4 permanent teeth pulled before wearing braces for 2 years, and I had my first root canal as a junior in high school. Yuck!!

Oh, and here's something extremely gruesome...are you ready? I loved NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK! I can probably still sing most of their songs. Sad, isn't it? As fate would have it, I went to one of their concerts around the age of 11 or 12, and rode on the elevator at the Peabody Hotel with Donnie Wahlberg, one the members of the group! I was so frozen with FEAR and DISBELIEF that I didn't even get his autograph. Dang! He was probably laughing at the fact that my friend and I were in such a state of SHOCK!

I was co-captain and captain of the cheerleading squad in 7th and 8th grade, but gave up cheerleading to play volleyball in high school. I wish I hadn't had to make a choice, though. I loved both! With volleyball and softball, I traveled lots of places to play against lots of teams, in lots of tournaments even as far away as Hawaii to play in a tournament as a freshman in college. For a time in my life, I lived and breathed these sports it seemed...

I used to visit the salad bar and make a salad with no lettuce--only bacon bits, eggs, cheese, croutons, raisins, and RANCH dressing--Weird, I know. I have since graduated to eating lettuce with my salads now. :-) I can drink hot cocoa no matter what month of the year it is! I love a Coke Zero with Diet Cherry flavor from Sonic. It takes me back to the days of Roper Drug Store on the square in Covington where my dad was pharmacist for 30 years. I spent many afternoons after school there reading Archie comic books, helping pull cotton from medicine bottles, and enjoying ice cream and drinks at that green counter at Roper's! I miss those days terribly!

I've driven 8 different vehicles since turning 17 and have not ever wrecked one! (Superstition has me knocking on wood right now! I pray I didn't just jinx myself.) My Papaw Phillips helped me pick out my very first car, a red Honda Prelude that my friends and I named "Peppy". I don't know why we gave all of our cars nicknames! Silly girl stuff, I guess.

I have been a teacher for over 10 years in the same county where I was educated in grades K-12. I attend the same church I've been a member of for 34 years now. I have lived in 5 different houses, 2 dorms, and one apartment in 3 different cities over the span of these 34 years.

I've visited 15 different states and 3 different countries so far, with experiences such as looking out over the beautiful city of Paris, France from atop the Eiffel Tower, watching the glorious sunrise atop Mount Haleakala in Maui, and snorkeling with manta rays in Kona. I've had my feet in the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. And yes, I've been to Disney World and making plans to go back SOON :-) I love the beach and everything about it. San Francisco is one of my favorite cities...I wish we had their climate here!

And sadly, I have had my heart broken. The first time I heard that song, Fifteen, by Taylor Swift, I thought about myself. "When you're 15 and somebody tells you they love you, you're gonna believe them. And when you're fifteen, feeling like there's nothing to figure out...I've found time can heal most anything and you just might find who you're supposed to be. Didn't know who I was supposed to 15." Since then, I have learned alot about myself, and I have found the person God had picked out for me. I met Jan when I was 19, and we were married when I was 22. (What did I know about love or anything else at 15? NOT MUCH!) I married a man who adores me, and sometimes I wonder why he loves me so much. I've given birth to 3 children--John Owen in 2003, Jonah Wade in 2005, and Mary Claire in 2008.

In 34 years, I've experienced happiness, surprise, loss, hurt, fun, fear, death, pain, confusion, assuredness, peace, trouble, joy, and sorrow. Isn't that what life's about? Experiencing life fully and looking to God in all of it. In this life, I have been loved and am loved by my Heavenly Father.
And these folks, too...

Thank you, God, for allowing me to live this life and experience so much, the good and the bad. Thank you for loving me through each phase of my life and never once leaving me. It is by Your Grace alone that I take my next breath.
Here's some more birthday celebration shots from this weekend:

The girls at dinner Sat. night. Our husbands were with us, but I neglected to get a whole group picture before the night ended. OOPS!

Three birthday girls celebrating birthdays at Marlo's. Laura turned 32 on Aug. 30, Summer's birthday was Sept. 3 and mine on the 4th.  (It was really Laura's surprise birthday dinner, but she was gracious enough to allow me to be celebrated, too.) Thanks, Laura! I am glad we have birthdays so close to one another.

I am so thankful for good friends!

Laura and I got to blow out the candles together. Christi made a wonderful cake, and we enjoyed some good time together Sat. night at dinner and on Christi's patio.

A cake made by Mrs. Baugues

My mom surprised me with some Christmas decorations for my birthday! Thanks, Mom! Mary Claire will also enjoy these, I'm sure! :-)

Me and my boys

My family at the birthday dinner Mom had for me today. Granny came too!!

One last birthday shot...


Laura Dawson said...

And I thought I knew you pretty well....geez, there was a lot still to be learned!! Great idea for a post! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY:) Thanks for your friendship, I treasure it.

Elizabeth said...

Happy Birthday! Loved reading your reflection on the years past and actually learned a couple of things:) I have some fun memories that involved riding in "Peppy". Oh what fun. Looks like you had a great weekend and I wish for you to have a wonderful year to come. Happy 34th Birthday Nicole!