You've made it to the blog! I am proud to welcome you! Imagine that I am standing in front of you, arms wide open, with a big smile saying, "Hey! I am so glad to see you!" Really, I am!
Let me take a minute to introduce myself and tell you where this blog has come from. Most of you will know me as Elizabeth, which is my middle name, and may be wondering at the title. Jettie, a name passed down to me from my great grandmother, is my first name. My close friends and family have lots of nick names for me, but "Jettie Beth" has found a landing place in my adult life. We're friends, so yes, you are welcome to call me Jettie Beth from now on! I am the Director of Children's Ministry at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia. My work intersects my beliefs and joys of life; faith in God and teaching children. I love sports! Watching and playing. I support many teams, too many teams. In no particular order (that feels necessary to point out); Atlanta Braves, Atlanta United, Georgia Bulldogs, Auburn Tigers and my alma mater, the Jacksonville State Gamecocks. (The Atlanta Falcons are not officially listed at this time. They have some work to do. Please respect our time of separation.) I enjoy going to sporting events to support these teams and generally being outside, appreciating God's creation. While not a morning person, God's sunrises are my most worshipful times. Reading, writing, drawing, and painting help my creativeness find a home. I strongly dislike cooking. So, don't worry, this isn't one of those blogs where you have to scroll 937384 times to "Show. Me. The. Recipe." While I dislike cooking, I do love trying new foods! Most importantly I believe, God is absolutely coffee and meant to be consumed every day.
What is this blog all about? In the midst of living in a global pandemic, I've learned and even relearned things about myself. I bet you have too! God has blessed me with gifts that I have the ability and outlets to share with others through my job and friendships. I'm also acquiring skills I never thought I would use or even enjoy. Like many of you, I've been able to spend time on those skills with the reset of priorities due to being home and isolated. One of those has been writing. Am I any good at it? Honestly, I don't know. BUT I do know, I enjoy it! It has me accountable to keeping my head up and paying attention. Those of you who know me, know I can sometimes be a homebody. I NEED time alone to recharge so that when I am working or with you, I am fully present and able to interact without feeling overwhelmed. Living through a pandemic that requires us to be isolated has been eye opening for a person who doesn't mind the alone time. It is one thing to choose to stay home. It is something else completely when that choice isn't your own. Another way I escape isolation is by going outside for walks and runs. It seems MANY have chosen this escape, which means seeing lots of people and paying attention to them. If you have followed me on Instagram or Facebook, I shared some of my "Running Stories" with you, which were surprisingly (to me) well received. I am hoping this blog will be a place to share and expand on those "Just Bits." If you were to come to my apartment and knew where to look, you'd find papers and notebooks filled with similar "just bits" of stories with funny quotes from children I've worked with along with reflections of current events and experiences I have with the world around me. For me, there is great comfort in sitting and reading a book, but there is a sense of peace in putting my own words into writing. In spending time writing and reflecting, I've heard God's voice sitting beside me. The most consistent words I've heard from God have been, "Don't keep it to yourself." My faith has taught me that God uses each and every one of us to share God's hope with others. I'd like to give myself credit for paying attention to that calling, especially in the work I've been led to through teaching and leading children's ministry. Time and time again, God presents Himself through my work in ways that I could not do all on my own. What is to say that God couldn't do the same through an outlet outside of my comfort zone? This has been a piece of me that I have kept to myself for some time. God is saying it is time to share it. "Don't keep it to yourself."
Vulnerability and authenticity welcome goodness. They can also open creases of negativity that have the ability to become large, soul-less holes. Humbly, I ask you to please keep in mind, this is my first go at this. No doubt, there will be errors. No doubt, I will make mistakes. No doubt, I will spell a word incorrectly or use inaccurate grammar. Then, imagine my grandmother taking a bright red pen to my mistakes. She was known to do that. No doubt, there will be some kind of technology glitch that I will have to panic, phone-a-friend in order to fix. I also know, no doubt, God will show up to help, forgive, offer grace and enter in. Through my writing, I hope you will be able to hear and feel my own thoughts. Further, I hope you will smile, laugh, cry if you need to ("Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion." - Bonus points to name that movie!), and maybe be angry for a minute (current events tend to do that to us). Ultimately, I hope my words can guide you to or be reminded of your own sense of peace, hope and thoughtfulness.