It Took A T-Shirt and A Scottie!

For those of you that know me, know that I am not a lover of T-shirts! Look at my wardrobe. 

The only place I wear T-shirts is to walk or exercise. That’s it.
OOPS! Well I am required to wear Conscious Discipline T-shirts when I am a helper for their workshops or institutions. And that’s the reason I have so many t-shirts!
Too many for me. 

I moved to the Lowcountry in July 2004 after 19 years of directing an early childhood center that was based in a church in Northern Virginia. The early childhood center was accredited by the National Association For The Education of Young Children. That’s a big deal for me. I was on church staff which brings blessings and burdens. I’ve taken a 17 year sabbatical from the church since 2004. Trust me that I’ve been looking. For sure I’ve been looking, however I believe that my faith, my beliefs have transformed in these 17 years. Sabbatical means that one is still studying.

In the beginning of my tenure at the weekday preschool, I saw and heard a lot being at weekly church staff meetings. I experienced mean people in the church; folks that called themselves Christian. Yes, I needed a break beginning in 2004.

Mike and I decided to attend a church late in the fall of 2004 and I commented to the pastor as we left that I was on church staff for 19 years. Here’s his response. “And you’re vertical?” And that got me to thinking. Is the church truly there to support and love each other? So I began to look, observe and reflect, thus the sabbatical. 

And then the country and the world began to change from 2004 to our current date. Dare I name them? I think I will pass. I can tell you what is important to me and my spiritual identity. It’s easy; love and accept every human being on this earth; no matter their gender, color. their political persuasion, their sexual identity, their religion, their country. Have I missed anything? Some days are easier than others when referring to political persuasion.

It’s simple! Love each other! Didn’t you sing that song in church growing up? I did.

I continued to look for my people. Where are you? I know that I live in the South but I continue to believe that I will find someone!

The Pandemic brought stuff. No judgements! I walked 569.54 miles in 2021. Every step of that way Bailey was with me. She’s a Scottish Terrier and she’s a Wheaton color not the typical black. So we are frequently stopped for either of these comments, “Is she a Scottish Terrier? OR Oh look, it’s a Westie!” These comments are always welcomed as they invite a conversation. 

Bailey looking her best!

And then it happens! It was Sunday, January 2. It was a beautiful day for the Lowcountry. Bailey and I are walking our 3 miles. A person stops us and asks, “Is this a white Scottie?” “Yes,” I respond! Good for you!” And then the usual pleasantries are exchanged and then I notice her T-shirt. Thankfully it’s a beautiful day and no coats are needed. 

Her T-shirt is a pretty pink with the Circular Congregational Church logo on the left. My heart literally skips a beat and I immediately ask her about it because this is the church that I have been researching for the past 4 months.

Here’s the T-shirt! 

Here’ the back of the T-shirt!

Let me be clear that this is from

And right like that I’m in!

I’m walking away after exchanging our information and immediately call JWF and exclaim,
“I have a friend and maybe a faith community!”

Three days later Bailey and I are out walking and a lady exclaims to me from across the street, “Are you Jessica?” “Yes, I respond?!” as I wonder how this person knows my name. “There’s a person walking looking for you and your Scottish Terrier and she went that way! She has a red shirt on.” And just like that Bailey and I light out running. I think I know who it is. My people! It was my T-Shirt person, PW! How lovely to share a bit of our walk with a new friend. It was a first.

Fast forward and it’s the next Sunday! PW has put me on the mailing list for CCC and I’ve downloaded the app. Yes they have an app. Have I mentioned that it’s an historical church on the peninsula since 1681? That’s just really cool!

The church decided for safety reasons AND reasons unrelated to the Omicron variant to record their Sunday service, January 9. I watched it via YouTube and found tears rolling down my cheeks. They tell stories that are authentic and then link it to Scripture. I’m home. I’ve arrived home. I’ve been waiting for this moment. The pastor ends his sermon ( it didn’t feel like it should be the end) with this song as he is recalling exiting the MUSC COVID testing center. And maybe just maybe this is the sweet spot!

What’s your story? Where did you find your sweet spot in a time of famine?

Or maybe the sweet spot is being thankful for T-shirts! What do you think? Or just maybe it’s a Scottie!
Sing With Me! Can we just get on the Love Train and change our world? I’m ready and yes I am a young 70 and embracing that number, finally!

The O’Jay’s Love Train

People all over the world (everybody)
Join hands (join)
Start a love train, love train
People all over the world (all the world, now)
Join hands (love ride)
Start a love train (love ride), love trainThe next stop that we make will be England
Tell all the folks in Russia, and China, too
Don’t you know that it’s time to get on board
And let this train keep on riding, riding on through
Well, wellPeople all over the world (you don’t need no money)
Join hands (come on)
Start a love train, love train (don’t need no ticket, come on)
People all over the world (join in, ride this train)
Join in (ride this train, y’all)
Start a love train (come on, train), love trainAll of you brothers over in Africa
Tell all the folks in Egypt, and Israel, too
Please don’t miss this train at the station
‘Cause if you miss it, I feel sorry, sorry for you
WellPeople all over the world (sisters and brothers)
Join hands (join, come on)
Start a love train (ride this train, y’all), love train (come on)
People all over the world (don’t need no tickets)
Join hands (come on, ride)
Start a love train, love train
Ride, let it ride
Let it ride
Let it ride
People, ain’t no warPeople all over the world (on this train)
Join in (ride the train)
Start a love train, love train (ride the train, y’all)
People all over the world (come on)
Join hands (you can ride or stand, yeah)
Start a love train, love train (makin’ love)
People all over the world (’round the world, y’all)
Join hands (come on)
Start a love train, love train
People all over the world 
Join hands 
Start a love train, love train
People all over the world 
Join hands 
Start a love train, love train
People all over the world 
Join hands 
Start a love train

It Was Worth The Wait

The last Yaya Camp was in Boston, July 2019! We had a grand time and we were both looking forward to the next summer and then the Pandemic hit! No Yaya Camp for 2020! Hello disappointment for sure. For both of us! 

On the plane on our way to Boston! July 2019

So fast forward and we’re making plans. He decides on Gettysburg over Monticello! Secretly I was happy! I wanted to revisit Gettysburg with IGF!

I’ll be honest about this trip! I was a bit anxious because the Pandemic has not only kept us apart geographically but let’s face it there was little to no contact. No judgements! He’s a teenager and he was living primarily with his Dad! Read that story!

IGF is back at home with his Mom for the 2021-2022 school year! I’m picking him up and just like that there he is! My heart literally skips a beat! He walks Remington, the beagle, grabs his suitcase and off we go! My heart is pounding. Is this going to be an epic fail or continue to be an amazing journey with my oldest grandson? I’m hopeful!

We are literally one block out when IGF asks, “So Yaya, what’s it been like for you during this Pandemic?” And just like that it’s all good. 

It’s raining! No really, it’s raining and we’re making our way from Winchester, Virginia to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It’s only 1.5 hour drive.

Did I mention that it’s dark? 

We’re driving into Gettysburg and the phone rings as we are literally pulling up to the front of the B&B! It’s the Bed and Breakfast calling. “Do I still want that roll away?” I hastily reply, “yes please” and inform him that I am in front! Did I mention that now it’s raining cats and dogs? The manager actually comes out to the car to help us unload our luggage. There’s no way around it for IGF or me. We step into probably 2 inches of water. Thankfully I have a rain slicker! Yes I have my Tieks on and yes they survived the ordeal.

We hastily get our luggage successfully stowed upstairs but find out we have to park the car in the back. Ugh! That means making our way outdoors again and finding the parking lot! Yes, it’s still raining! We’re hungry! And yes, it’s still raining! OH! I’ve already said that! Our feet are drenched! We did it! We successfully parked the car! We had dinner and came back to our room and no it’s not the Hilton Garden Inn. Not even close. That was by choice because I wanted to be in the middle of Gettysburg. 

Have I mentioned that the B&B was built in the mid 1850’s! This is important to know at this point! It’s not that pretty B&B that you imagine! 

Have you noticed all the exclamation marks? I have! 

So let me attempt to describe the room and reduce the number of exclamation marks! 

Thankfully, it’s necessary to have a key, a real key, to get into the three story house. Remember that we’re in Gettysburg and the house was built in the mid 1850’s! We have to walk up to the second floor and turn left to find our room at the end of the hall. 

Are you ready? I’m not sure that I was ready! The roll away is there. ( I so want to insert an exclamation mark.) All our luggage is there with all of my camera paraphernalia. I’m quickly surveying the room. Breathe. There’s hardly any room to walk. Small pathways to make one’s way between the roll away, my bed and the bathroom. And there is no door to the bathroom. There’s really no door!

Breathe. We are in the heart of the historic district. 

Back to the bathroom. There is no door! (This one deserved an exclamation point.Right? A teenager and a young 70 year old?) 

It is an accordion door that probably worked 50 years ago. But now this door has the most amazing and terrifying  gaps and a tension rod with a flimsy curtain. I’m not making this stuff up. 

So I decide to pay no attention. That’s right. I am giving no energy to the no door. Thank you Mom for teaching me this lovely skill. I can make it work. And you know what? I do believe we did it and made some modifications along the way. 

So the first morning IGF chose to be first in the shower and he literally shouts to the universe, “It’s either lava hot or Arctic cold.” I shout back, “You’ve got it.” He exits and informs me that it is a no shower day for him and he’s loaded up with deodorant. Well that’s a good thing. 

I’m next! Is the accordion door closed? Please! And I find that the flimsy curtain is a relief! Hello lava hot or Arctic cold! Unbelievable for sure but I did it with research. How can I make this better for IGF and me? 

You know what I’m going to say, right? Play with the nozzles. So each morning was a teaching session, from my bed, to say to IGF, “turn the left nozzle three turns and the right nozzle, five turns.” Hooray for research! It worked! Everyone had showers during Yaya Camp! 

So where’s the Sweet Spot? What do you think? I covet your feedback. Here’s what I think.

IGF and I did our usual “thing” of soaking up history and discussing what it may have been like if we had lived during that time. But here’s the thing. This visit was different because of the room and especially the bathroom. Don’t get me wrong. These experiences are memorable however who would have ever thought to have a heart of gratitude for these annoying things and then begin to wonder about their significance to IGF’s growth. Here goes! 

I’m under the impression that most folks would complain about the room and especially the bathroom; complain either to the owners or to each other. We didn’t do either! We made it work for us! On the ride back to Winchester is where we began to reflect our our 4 days and that’s where the two of us laughed out loud about the accommodations and we opined about the accommodations. We were able to find the absurdity and yes, find gratitude. There was no complaining. Now that’s the sweet spot! And more importantly IGF may be able to navigate situations in his life a bit more smoothly because of this experience. I can only hope!

What are your thoughts? Do you have similar experiences?

Enjoy the photos! 

I love the few sunflowers on such hallowed ground.
IGF took photos with my camera. This one’s good isn’t it?



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