* Misunderstood

As defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word misunderstood means wrongly or improperly understood. Boy what a powerful word that is! So many times, we get upset with people because of how we perceive their actions. We find them to be rude, possibly offensive or just plain uncaring. I have found many times that people I didn’t think I like usually have a story that makes them act that way. I admit that even when I know their story, I still may not like them but I do have more patience and tolerance for them. My reaction to them was based on the fact that I misunderstood them.

As an elementary school librarian, I learned that the worst behaving kids were often the ones with the most dramatic stories. You can’t excuse their behavior but you can have more compassion when you understand the why of the behavior. We can all do a better job of being tolerant of those who are misunderstood. That will help us get through the times when we ourselves are misunderstood.

Compassion, Tolerance, Patience…. these words are the key to change in our society.

Blessings, Cindy J

* Only Leave Footprints

One day as I was leaving the beach, I saw a sign that read only leave footprints. The purpose of the message was to remind you to take everything back with you that you brought out to the beach. It should remain clean and beautiful for the next people who come to visit and safe for the wildlife that lives there. Your footprints should be the only reminder that you were there.

As you walk along the beach, you can look back to see your footprints in the sand and know where you’ve been. You can see the footprints of others as you walk knowing that you are not alone in the world. Take comfort in that knowledge and understand others will pass along in your footprints.

What if we made a point to leave things as we find them in this world? To respect the Earth and its’ beauty. Sometimes we have to fix the mess that others left behind but that’s okay, too. It shows we care and that we’re responsible. Go spend time in nature whether it be the beach, mountain or trail. Enjoy the beauty God has given us and then, only leave footprints.

Blessings, Cindy J

* Who Am I?

I have always loved to read biographies. When I was a child, I think I read every single one in our elementary school library. The lives of other people fascinated me, especially when I learned about many of the issues they had to overcome in order to accomplish great things in life.

In Viola Davis’s autobiography Finding Me, she tells the story of actor Will Smith asking her who she was? She answered by telling him he knew her work as an actor but he persisted and asked again, “But who are you?” That’s when she realized she was still that scared little kid who grew up in poverty. Reading that brought me to tears with my own realization of who I really am. When things scare me and I don’t know what to do, I’m still the little chubby girl in elementary school who no one wanted on their kickball team. That’s where I go when I am unsure of myself. That little girl still lives inside me and until I accept her and deal with her fears, I’ll always go back there.

I need to let that little girl know that she is okay and that she’s a lot stronger than she thinks! She may not have been one of the popular kids, but she was smart and she was a survivor for enduring all that hurt. That survivor instinct has helped her become a cancer thriver who pushes on in spite of the pain and hurt.

As we begin a new year today, stop and ask yourself, who am I? Don’t focus on who you were, decide who you are and go be that person for today and the future.

Happy New Year! Cindy J

* Christmas Joy

One of my sweet “daughters-in-love” gifted me a book of devotions to ponder this Christmas season and told me that she also had a copy she would be reading. The title is Emmanuel: An Invitation to Prepare Him Room at Christmas and Always by Ruth Chou Simons. The funny part of this story is that unbeknownst to her, my other “daughter-in-love” asked for this book for her birthday. So, all three of us are reading the same devotions each day which I think is a very neat thing for our families. (*Note- I call my daughter-in-law’s “in-loves” because I want them to know just how deeply loved they are as my son’s wives.) Already, the daily ponderings have been such a blessing to me.

My expectations for Christmas can sometimes disappoint me when they don’t come to fruition but I am already learning through this book that what I think is not important. It’s what I do and give to others that matters. I need to focus more on “the good portion” which is loving Jesus than worrying about the busyness of Christmas. Being generous with my time and resources is the best way I can honor God’s generosity to us. I can also honor him through prayer and thanksgiving for the joy of God’s gift through his only Son, Jesus.

I pray this holiday season that you can indeed find your Christmas joy and focus on the beauty of our Savior’s birth. God made us on purpose for His purpose.

Merry Christmas! Cindy J.

“No man ever errs on the side of giving too much honor to God the Son.” -J.C. Ryle

* Beach Music

Beach Music

One day last summer while sitting on the beach and doing a little journaling, I decided to write down words associated with the beach that started with the letter B. I looked, I listened and then I closed my eyes and felt. Here’s my list….

Blissful                                   Besties                    Bathing Beauties

Breakers                               Beautiful                   Boats

Books                                     Blue                        Beneficial

Breeze                                   Beach Bags              Bounty

Blankets                                Basking                    Birds  


This list might not mean a lot to you but when I read these words I am taken to a place, an oasis of sorts, where I let everything go and focus on the here and now. In our busy lives these days, that’s not something that happens very often.

So, I have a very important assignment for you. Go to your place where you let go with journal in hand. Yes, it has to be a journal because once you do this, you’re going to want to do it again! Look. Listen. Feel. Write it all down and come back to it when you need to feel grounded. Learning to just be is the greatest gift you can give yourself. It also helps you to be a better person for those around you. Today, I’ll just listen to my beach music.

Blessings, Cindy J           

* The Cottage

Refreshed. That’s how I feel after spending time at what I like to call my cottage. It’s actually just a small house in a neighborhood that’s about 15 minutes from the beach. It reminds me of the first home Eddie and I owned in the town of Edenton. It too was near the water, the Albemarle Sound, and I loved that little house.

The house originally belonged to my youngest son. He bought it when he first got out of college and needed a place to live near the high school where he would be teaching in the small coastal town of Southport. When he needed extra space for his growing family, Eddie and I bought it as our getaway place and as a plus, we could visit more with his family. I have since renamed it “The Cottage”.

When I drive into the driveway it’s like I leave my real life behind and focus more on simplicity.  We only have the things we need here. It’s sparsely decorated with older furniture and the upkeep is minimal. Don’t misunderstand me, I love my fulltime home and it is a beautiful place but here I seem to be able to let go of my worries. It’s quiet and I focus more on my writing because there’s no TV! I find comfort when I spend a day at the beach. I talk more to God and listen to Him more.

I love being able to share this cottage with my family. It gives them a place to refresh as well. That brings me joy. I know I am blessed to be able to have “The Cottage” for this season in my life. I hope you can find a place even if it’s in your own backyard that you can go to and let go of what troubles you for a while. I pray that you come home refreshed.

Blessings, Cindy J

* A Sweet Baby Boy

In January of 2021, a sweet baby boy came into our lives. He is my grandson Phillip Henry, named for two of his great grandpas. As with both of my other grandchildren, two very special little girls, the love was instantaneous and what a gift they have been in my life. Phillip is a happy, affectionate little boy who is full of personality and loves to laugh.  This baby boy wants for nothing and has been showered with gifts from the moment he was born. He has a crib to sleep in and many beautiful handmade blankets to wrap up in for warmth.

On a cold December night over 2,000 years ago, another sweet baby boy was born. His parents had no place to stay because all the rooms in the inn were full. There wasn’t even a crib to place the newborn baby in, only a simple manger. No blankets either, only cloth to swaddle him in. However, the baby was celebrated just like our Phillip and continues to be celebrated to this very day. Angels sang to announce his birth to shepherds who immediately went to see the Christ child.  Wise men came from afar to bring him expensive gifts. His name was Jesus and his Mama pondered all these happenings in her heart.

Baby Jesus was a gift that changed the world just like Walker, Margot and Phillip changed my world by filling it with more love than I could ever imagine. As we begin this new year, let us not forget to celebrate the birth of this sweet baby boy; the gift God gave us of eternal life through his one and only Son Jesus. We are truly blessed.

Blessings, Cindy J

* I Press On

Lately I haven’t felt a lot like writing. I enjoy it and it provides an outlet for me to express my feelings but it just seems difficult. There are many times we all feel like that in life. We have things we love to do but just can’t seem to find the energy to complete the action. That’s when it is the most important to press on!

As we enter this season of Thanksgiving, it’s important to be thankful for the gifts and blessings God has given each of us.  My writing serves an important purpose for me but also for those who read my words. So, I press on and keep writing. Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts with you through this blog.

Blessings, Cindy J

* Life, Love and Loss

Longevity reigns supreme in the Jennings’ family when it comes to pets. We just recently lost our sweet Maggie girl, a golden retriever, after 14 ½ years of unconditional love on her part. It seems all of our animals tend to stick around for a while once we bring them home. The first pet I ever remember having as a child was a little cocker spaniel named Brownie. I can’t remember how long we had her but I do have a picture of me as a little girl with my arm around her neck, a look of contentment on both our faces. Then there was my favorite cat growing up; a big yellow tabby whose name was Yellow.  He met his demise in the engine of my Mama’s car and since he was an old cat, didn’t survive the trauma of the accident.

Fast forward to marriage and children which brought us our Beetle or Bea girl as I called her. She was just a little ball of black fur when we told our neighbor we would take one of the mixed breed puppies they found themselves “surprised” with. She was Ryan’s dog and loved and protected him for 15 years. Every day she would walk the property lines around our house to investigate and make sure everything was okay. We lost her when Ryan was in college and I vowed we would never get another dog because it was just too hard to make the decision to put her to sleep.

Nike and Bear were the kittens of Lucky, a stray we rescued after we saw her take a tumble out from under a truck on a busy highway. Her girls, sisters, lived to be 19 years old. They were always outside cats and we never had a mouse or creature ever enter our house. Those girls were fierce hunters and always on patrol.

That brings us back to Maggie. When my youngest son Sam left for college, I knew this empty nester needed someone to care for so, sweet Maggie came into our lives. I don’t think I’ve ever known a smarter, more loving dog. Losing her has been difficult. 

Life is full of love and loss. Letting go is so very hard but not having had the chance to love is even harder. Pets teach us a lot of life lessons about loving and letting go. So, love people, life, pets, etc. as much as you can while you can. Then be prepared that inevitably, we all have to let go.

Blessings, Cindy J

* Just Go

My husband and I had been talking about going to Alaska since I retired four years ago. Every summer we’d find some reason not to go. So in January of 2020 I finally told him, “let’s just go” and I paid the deposit. Of course, we all know what happened; COVID hit and again our trip was postponed. Just last month in August 2021, we were finally able to take that trip. All I can say is that it was truly amazing and more beautiful than pictures can ever show. It made us realize that now is the time to travel and go to all the places we’ve talked about. We both are currently healthy enough to do things and walk with relative ease. There’s no reason to put it off any longer. Several times during our trip my husband said, “I’m so glad you talked me into this.”

We convince ourselves that we’ll go see that friend or family member we’ve wanted to visit another day or we’ll wait until things slow down before we take time off for a vacation. My advice to you is go ahead and do it! Not one of us knows what the future holds but I live with the possibility that one day my cancer may return. It truly makes me cherish the here and now. I want to spend as much time as I can with the people I love. I want to visit more of the beautiful cities in the USA and when it’s safe, I still want to go to Italy and Greece with my girlfriends.

Today I leave you with a simple question…what’s stopping you? Just go!

Blessings, Cindy J