Vol 58: Happy Birthday (almost) to Me
Grab a glass of bubbles and let's toast for J-Day
Today’s recipe is this delicious chicken bake I made last week. If you are looking for something warm, flavorful, and gooey with cheese, try this dish. You will be fed for a couple of days! Enjoy!
Hey friend Hey!
You ought to be so proud of me, I am not rushing to have lunch with you today. In fact, I am preparing for this lunch an entire week early because I do not play around with my birthday volume.
On Friday, I will be entering a new chapter of life, and I am just over the moon with thanks and blessings for what God has bestowed upon me thus far.
Later this week the Williams crew will be heading to Asheville, NC to eat, shop and relax. This quaint little city nestled in the mountains has become one of my favorite places to visit. The forecast is calling for a good amount of snow. While I am excited JJ gets to see snow for his first Christmas, I am annoyed because this limits our walking around. Pray to mother nature that the weather takes a more positive turn for me okay!?
When I was living in Atlanta, I used to drive to Chattanooga all the time because I fell in love with that city. The vibe and localness about it just gave me good energy. The moment we visited Asheville two birthdays ago I knew that this mountainy gem of a spot would capture my heart.
Now it has become our tradition to visit at least once a year. And I am so excited that this year JJ gets to experience it alongside us.
Let me ask you this, are you a big birthday celebrator? Like, do you always do something for your birthday each year?
I actually prefer to keep my birthday low-key and haven’t really done something “big” since my 31st. Pre-Julian I would grab dinner with friends or my mom, and every so often I would have a big celebration that included others, but now, I like to spend the day with my husband and now with our son.
I also think because J-Day is literally two days before Christmas it just makes things a little more challenging to bring folks together.
December is already a busy month for most, and when you have friends all over the place, it makes for either a very small gathering (which I don’t mind) or a full-out event that requires folks to fly or drive in. And we already did that this year for my husband’s 40th.
So until it’s time for me to enter a new decade I’ll keep it low-key.
You know this is the last time we will have lunch until the new year? So I need to know all your plans. What are you doing for the final 13 days of the year?
Christmas is going to be chill for us. My mom is coming over so it will just be the four of us and basketball all day. I had some matching pj’s for us, but JJ grew out of his already 🤷🏽♀️.
And for NYE, we plan to dine at our favorite local steakhouse, come home, sip champ, and watch CNN. I plan to wake JJ up around 11:45, so he can ring in the new year with us. We might pay for that later, but this only happens once a year.
Are you setting any goals for 2023?
I honestly haven’t thought about it. My biggest priority for next year is my son.
If you remember from a previous lunch date, I shared that JJ had a lot of external referrals from his pediatrician. We’ve been diligently in physical and occupational therapy since he was 6 months old and his progress and development are beginning to shine bright.
So I (we) are laser-focused on building his strength and independence.
But for me, I want to continue to build out my digital bookshelf and focus on expanding my book genres. I read sci-fi and historical fiction this year as a first, and I am looking forward to adding a few more of those titles next year. I also want to read another classic novel, I’m thinking Crime & Punishment.
I also want to take a couple more road trips next year. Living in Columbia nestles us near a few mid-sized cities I want to visit, like Savannah and Greenville, SC.
If we are lucky, Julian and I will get a solo trip in. I would even take a two-day one night situation at this point.
And of course have lunch with you. Monday Lunch turns three next year. I have so many exciting new ideas for next year. I can’t wait to share with you next time we have lunch. If you notice the title of today’s lunch is a little different.
What was your favorite moment of 2022?
You should know my obvious response, having John-Joseph. But besides that, I would say Julian’s 40th birthday party I hosted at the art museum.
It was such a joy not only seeing my husband’s friends travel down to celebrate but also my friends. I love that my friends love and appreciate my husband enough to set time (and money) aside to toast to him. 🥂
For the rest of my lunch today I want to share a few intimate moments of my life from the 90s.
If you love nostalgia, you will love these moments.
March 11, 1992
At the time of this card expiring, I would only be 6 years old. That is how long I have been an avid reader and library goer.
During our hometowns months before we got engaged (yes, like the bachelor) I took Julian to this library. Walking through its front doors sent me back to the days when my dad used to bring me here in the summers, and we would spend hours looking at books.
My daddy didn’t play.
I am glad ended up loving to read because he would take me to the library whether I liked it or not. He also was the type of person who made me take typing tests before I was able to go outside and play with my friends. Not only did I have to take the test, but I had to get a specific score. I wasn’t even mad at this. I loved typing on the computer.
December 23, 1998
I hit Las Vegas with my mom for my 13th birthday. Now that is something to go back to school after winter break and tell your friends.
“What did you do over winter break?”
“Oh not much. I went to Las Vegas for a few days.”
This was such a fun trip with my mom. It’s like one of my favorite memories of us. The above picture is me eating a fried chicken caesar salad at some place on Las Vegas Blvd that had three women singing, pretending to be The Supremes.
I also don’t know why I wore a Dallas Cowboys starter jacket. I mean I assume I was a fan because my momma and her whole side of the family are obsessed fans.
April 9, 1999
My mom kept pretty much everything. I think this is why I keep just about everything. I love having all of these memories to share and reflect back on. I’m already saving things for JJ to show him when he gets older. Yea, it’s great to show your kids baby pictures and videos. But what about their report cards or some of their papers from class? I have that and so much more.
I have about 15 report cards my mom saved from my school years. And on about half of them, there is a comment about me talking too much. Not surprised.
I also have the worst attendance in P.E. across the board. I failed P.E. during my freshman year of high school because I never would dress out. So I had to take it again my senior year which was the WORST!
P.E. your senior year of high school; I was literally stuck with freshmen and sophomores for an hour.
September 8, 1999
I love coming across memories of my dad I haven’t seen in a long time.
Let’s see if I can recall what my dad is talking about in this note.
I was two months shy of turning 14 which means I was a freshman in high school. I entered high school in 1999.
I probably got in trouble recently. I know for a fact I was in trouble summer of 1999 with my mom. It had something to do with some boys my girlfriend and I met at the neighborhood teen center. 🙃
So my daddy was probably telling me to stop acting up.
And the $20 for lunch would last me all week long, and I could buy something out of the vending machines every day. My momma told a lie to the school so I could get reduced lunch, $.60. That lasted all of two years, then they caught on somehow and I had to pay full price.
One of the most comforting things about finding this note was not even my dad’s words, but it was the fact that I think Julian writes like him and he signed it with his middle name, Marlowe and that is my son’s middle name.
I see the past, present, and future all in one note written 18 years before Julian, and I had our first date.
Well friend, that’s it. I had fun walking down my 90s memory lane with you. Hopefully, I sparked some good memories for you too.
This is our last lunch of the year, so I wish you a happy holiday season, and I am sending you many blessings for health and wealth in the New Year.
Until then… xo, Jemia
p.s. If you liked today’s birthday memories, check out Volume 10 for more memories.
p.p.s. Season two of White Lotus was so much better than the first, but. I loved both. And I hope yall are watching Harry & Meghan on Netflix.