Remembering the Good Stuff–Only the Good Stuff

Saturday night, my sister Jennifer celebrated her 50th birthday. After dinner she said, “As I reflected on turning 50, I realized I didn’t want a big blowout party. I guess there’s something about aging that makes you grateful for your family, your health, your marriage, your children, and your dearest friends.”

Uh-oh. My heart pounded triple time. She planned to say something about each of us. I was the bossy older sister. The tattle-tale. I organized neighborhood plays and always got to be the director.

One night in the tub, I convinced Jennifer to take a bite of Dial soap. I told her everybody ate soap.

I told her if she’d put her Popsicles in my mouth, they wouldn’t melt so fast because my mouth was just like a refrigerator.

I told her to never say the words VENETIAN BLINDS. 

VENETIAN BLINDS  means something dark and scary, and you’re way too young to understand.” Bless her heart. She believed me.

Would she remember all the ugly stuff I’d done? Would she tell everybody at the party?

Flash back to 1968. Mother’s folding diapers. Jen’s twirling her hair. I’m smiling at the camera with my hands on my hips, probably telling Jen to behave and smile too.

Okay, back to Saturday night, Jen’s words…

“As my sister, Julie, you truly know me better than anyone, next to Charlie, Libby, and the Lord! It’s hard to put into words the gratitude I feel for you.” (Charlie’s her hubby. Libby’s their daughter.)

Gratitude? Did she say gratitude?

“From the time I was a little girl to now, I’ve looked up to you and admired you. We had such fun as sisters.”

Me? Fun?

We were both crying, but somehow she continued.

“Playing in the sprinkler in matching bathing suits, groove-ins on Nancy Clutter’s porch, cereal and cartoons on Saturdays, me, jumping in your bed with you at night because I’d heard something and was terrified. You let me put my cold feet on your warm ones. You’ve always been there for me. I know I can confide in you.”

Oh, wow. She only remembers the good stuff.

How can it be? She’s let go of all the mean things I did to her.

(Jen, me, and Mother–44 years later–the night of the party!)

Staring at her 1960’s groovy cake, I thought…

What if I could live like Jennifer?

What if I “kept no record of wrongs?”  1 Corinthians 13:5

And dwelled only on the good stuff.

Help me, Lord.


Julie~ Was anyone else a bossy child?


  1. Lynne Gentry says:

    I’m so glad God only remembers the good stuff. Beautiful reminder, Julie. Beautiful.

  2. Oh, Lynne. So true!!! Great takeaway!! XO

  3. Sandra Walker says:

    AWESOME story! Loved it!!! What a powerful way to remind us of the ways of God. I was an only child – but 20 years ago God gave me a prayer partner that is a real big sister to me (I always wanted an older sister!). Also, I loved the part about the soap. My maiden name is Dial and you can imagine all the jokes about Dial soap I heard!

    • Love your reponse, Sandra DIAL. Tee hee! You know, I held my fingers over the keys as I wrote this thinking, was it Lifebouy soap or Dial soap. So glad I went with Dial. 🙂 🙂 And I’m so happy for you–finally a big sister. If she tels you to eat soap, don’t listen! XOXOXOXO

  4. Anna Haney says:

    And I am hormonal today, so the Wednesday tears you send are more than usual. I loved this. My husband has an older by a few minutes brother who has teased and aggravated him mercilessly for years, all their lives. Don, like your sister, does his best to remember the good things. I look forward to these Wednesday posts. Thanks! Love ya

    • And I look forward to knowing I’m stirring your emotions to tears. Sounds terrible, but to me it means my words are sinking into hearts. Just want to make sure you laugh and cry!

      Hope Don can let go of the mean stuff. Jennifer and I have an incredible relationship.

      Love you, my friend. And again, thanks for encouraging me.

  5. Beautiful, touching and really funny! Glad she remembered only the good stuff! Now I can see why you are a writer as you were very creative as a big sister too! Did Jennifer really fall for the refrigerator mouth thing? Ha and I can not believe you mentioned Venetian Blinds here on this family channel. Blessings and cherished memories!

    • Tom, she really did. I can still taste her purple Popsicles and remember the guilty pleasure I had.

      Back then, if we went inside someone’s house who had venetian blinds (and didn’t everybody years ago!) we’d look big-eyed at each other. Only I was grinning on the inside.

      Whew. So glad she forgave me. And God did too.

      Thanks for reading and especiall for laughing!

  6. Oh this SO reminds me of me and my sister! I am the older sister too but my sister also only remembers the good in me…..that amazes me. We had a rough childhood so stuck together. Thanks for this beautiful post, Julie. XO, Pinky

  7. I was just like you, Julie–older, bossy, and always right! But praise God, my youngest sister remembers only the good. My middle sister is gone now and we were able to laugh about the past before she died (although I’m sure she remembered much more of the bad than my younger sister did!).

    Like others have said, I’m so thankful that through the blood of Jesus, God only remembers the good in me. 🙂
    Love you!

    • YAY!!! A fellow bossy sister, Vonda!!! I’m so very sorry about your sister, and what a blessing–you laughed about the past.

      I know–the blood of Jesus. I just keep saying, “Thank You,” today. Over and over.

      Love you too.

  8. Marilyn says:

    I can’t imagine you ever doing anything bad! But how funny! I laughed at what you did and said to your sister – it was harmless, right? Well maybe the soap wasn’t all that good for her. I was the only girl and the youngest of three children, so I had no one to boss around or be bossed around by. Always wanted a sister, but God gave me a best friend I’ve had since we were babies in the nursery at church, for which I’m very grateful. By the way, you ladies look fabulous and waaaay younger than your ages!!!

    • Hey Marilyn,

      First, thank you for the sweet compliment about aging!! I really believe the joy inside of me took a few years off that night. Maybe that’s the secret. And you should know. You look wonderful yourself!

      Ohhh, so you were the baby girl. I love it! I’m so glad you met your BFF in the church nursery! How precious.

      Thank you so much for reading. Love you.

  9. The bad stuff? What bad stuff? I remember it ALL…and litle rebel that I was/am, those were the GOOD times! Like when my big sis encouraged us all to jump off the roof into the swimming pool (and the shallow end was the closest to the house); or the time we walked through the Arizona desert barefoot (me super afraid of scorpions but doing it ’cause she told me to); or the time we took our brand new bikes to the top of a hilltop driveway and positioned them “just so” and then, unmanned, set them off down the driveway where they wobbled and wiggled at a frantic clip until they crossed the road and fell into the ditch on the other side. Now that was bad stuff, and the memories that childhoods are made of. : o ) P.S. I wouldn’t change a thing! Thanks for sharing!

  10. I grew up with a brother who was 4 years older than me. I didn’t find my sisters until 2009.

    However, I played with the 2 girls who lived on each side of me. Margie was the bossy one, and the one who I think was always afraid of being left out. She planned the “gang-ups”. She’d and I would gang up on Lynn, who went home in tears. The next day, they ganged up on me. But I didn’t go home in tears. I just went and found somebody else to play with. LOL

    Funny, though, neither Lynn nor I ever ganged up on Margie. She was always the instigator. Now, those times seem so mean, but as kids, they weren’t that bad. At least not to me. I shrugged them off.

    • Loved reading this, Ane. You must work it into a novel one day. Such real emotions. And it doens’t matter if you were a child. It still counts! 🙂

      Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!

  11. I promised my little sister the calf wouldn’t hurt her if she climbed on…..and then I laughed when she was face-down in cow manure and mud. And my bet? She remembers!

  12. Oh, Kellie. I feel so much better. We didn’t have cows. It’s a good thing.

    Love you!

    Blessings, blessings, blessings on Mother of Pearl!

  13. Now that I’m through crying, Julie, I can see to type this. I’m the older, bossy, mean sister. That’s how I remember it. When I asked them to forgive me a while back, they had no idea what I was talking about! There’s nothing more precious than a sister. Thanks for the reminder! And I’m so jealous because you, your sis, and your mom are all wearing sleeveless tops and look fantastic. Love you, Julie!

  14. Oh, Carla. I’m hugging you from Georgia. You won’t believe it, but I sooo hoped you’d read this one. I thought you’d love the sister/nostalgia parts.

    And guess what? Mother was quizzing me about my outfit that week. “What are going to wear?” she said. When I told her, she said, “Aren’t you wearing a little wrap? You’re going with your bare arms showing?”

    Of course, I had the little wrap on the back of my chair! But didn’t put it on. 🙂

    Love you, my precious friend.

  15. I loved your relationship w/ Jen. This was powerful J. Jen was pouring out grace. Beautiful grace.
    (and the picture of the three of you…holy cannoli, can I say it again…you people have really good genes ) xooxoo

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