Delilah Dior Dominica
A woman's journey exploring her passion for Faith, fashion and travel.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

To Mama Bear

My mother is a superhero. A real life Wonder Woman. She was a stay at home mom for all of our lives, but somehow when my friends and teachers asked me what my Mom did, it never satisfied me to say that a woman raising seven kids to love each other and love the Lord was just a "stay at home Mom". She is one of God's most astounding creations, but I didn't always see her that way. My Mom and I have two polar opposite personalities. I am emotional, impulsive, passionate, creative and forgetful. She is realistic, a planner, determined, logical and more organized than you could imagine. These character traits led to a little mini tornado in our house-hold often. Yes, she drove us everywhere, cooked us dinner every night, hosted our birthday parties, kept the house stocked with food and toys, planned our vacations, loved our friends, and loved us. She divided her time evenly amongst the seven of us, attending every game, play, classroom presentation and field trip she could. She gave, and still does give, the best gifts. Every Sunday she washed, combed, and braided hair so foreign to her- kinky curls we all obtained from our father- and learned to style five girls hair that each made it a point to have different taste. "I don't want pigtails anymore! It's too tight I have a headache! My bangs are too puffy! Can't you make it straight like yours? I want long yellow hair!" (She should also receive a medal for the particular time when she spent a week combing through the heads of all seven children with a comb so fine that it looked like strings of floss held it together, because my older sister came home from camp with lice. Those memories will haunt me forever.) Though she was all those things, the time she spent with us day in and day out as my dad worked or traveled for work really and truly made us numb to her super-hero nature. Somehow, we were under a spell, blinded to all of her magnificence, only able to see her negatives. She became the bad guy, and I would complain that she told me to go change at least three times a morning because something was too tight, or too short, didn't allow me go to parties where she didn't know the parents hosting and when she told my dad what a challenge I had been after I had ferociously disobeyed and disrespected her all day (guaranteeing a serious spanking when he got home) I accused her of "telling on me." Growing up, the only time we really and truly could grasp just how much we loved and needed our mother was on the very rare occasion that she had to go away for a weekend. 

It only happened about once a year, but when news broke that she had a trip coming up the word spread through the Singletary house like a wildfire. Terror would show on our faces and we practically hung from the hem of her pants as she walked out the door, begging her not to leave. Why, you ask, was Mom's lovely weekend trip such a panic inducing feat for us? Because my dad loves my mom more than I had ever known a man could love a woman. He spent every day making sure that we respected her the way she deserved to be respected. Some days we didn't get it, but the days we finally understood were the ones spent with Dad in charge. He had painted a picture in his mind that when Mom came home, the house should be clean and homework should be done so she wouldn't have to lift a finger. We would come downstairs the morning after her departure to find a large white-board with a list of instructions on it, the first of which being "No one is allowed in the kitchen until this list is finished. You. Will. Not. Eat. Until: your rooms, bathrooms, and closets are spotless, The laundry is separated and in the laundry room, Your lockers are clean, and the first floor is swept and then vacuumed. I have a fun day planned for us, but we can't have fun until after we work." After hours of cleaning and nights of waiting on Dad's cooking (he is a fabulous chef, but a perfectionist through and through…he once spent all day on a stew and poured it down the drain at 10pm because it wasn't right…oh our grumbling bellies) and being woken in the middle of the night because a task wasn't done correctly, we had a deep longing and appreciation for the woman who brought us into this earth. I am so sorry I spent so much of my childhood pushing you away, Mom, but here 23 years later I can see exactly why Dad loves you so much. You deserve the world, because you have so willingly given your world to us

The summer before I left for college, my dad sat me down with a very concerned look on his face. He said, " You have lived in the same house as the most amazing woman in the world for 18 years and haven't learned a thing. If I were you, I'd spend this summer asking questions. And listening. It's time to make up for those years." I have spent my days doing just that ever since. 

Thank you for helping me find my jerseys that always seemed to disappear the night before a game. 
Thank you for paying for some serious orthodonture, and replacing my retainer three times.

Thank you for not letting me wear outfits that revealed things that only my husband should see.
Thank you for praying for me every night since before I was even here on this Earth.
Thank you for giving me a love for fashion and deep appreciation for the ability to travel the world.

Thank you for not kicking me out of the house when I had the nerve to utter the words "I hate you." 
Thank you for not giving up on me in high school because you knew I was so lost and desperately needed Jesus.

Thank you for giving me an example of how a wife should serve, submit to, and respect her husband.
Thank you for spanking me, grounding me, taking my phone away and washing my mouth out with soap when needed.

Thank you for being a perfect balance of strength and meekness.
Thank you for being my mother and dear friend.

Blessed beyond measure, because you make every day better.

Love, Jill

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Introduction to the Conclusion

I had a very different college experience than I imagined I would. The daughter of two college sweethearts and Baylor alums, I spent much time on the Baylor campus frolicking around the football stadium and pressing my face against the glass of the Bear cage. When my older sister confirmed she would be a Baylor Bear come Fall, I realized that in four years, I would follow in her footsteps and put on the green and gold as well. When my older brother committed to play football for Baylor, it only solidified my fate. I had always been more interested in Art than anything else, and I was nervous that maybe this wasn't exactly Baylor's specialty, but I never paid much attention to the knot this tied my brain into- I was to be the next Singletary graduate, and I would surely continue the trend. 

I spent the last two years of high school making terrible decisions, spending all my time and energy on a doomed relationship rather than my studies. All the free space in my brain was taken up by the enormous effort it took me to lie (and remember a lie, and not mix up a lie.) Needless to say, my grades quickly started to slip, and I began to worry for the first time if my GPA would even grant me a chance at the school of my dreams. By senior year I had really taken to Volleyball and spent my time in a three way split: volleyball. boyfriend. art. At this point, my main concern was making sure my grades were enough to get me out of that school, and earn me a ticket to my destiny for a grand chance to start over and continue my family's legacy. Sic' Em Bears. 

As you can probably tell from the build up, this "continuing my family's legacy" did not happen. Not at Baylor, anyways. In late Spring of my Senior year I found a letter addressed to me from Baylor University Admissions. This was it! I ran upstairs and closed my bedroom door, sat on the bed, tore open the envelope and began reading. "Dear Jill, we regret to inform you…" 



Is this happening?

I had so heavily fallen into the comfort of my last name still ringing through the campus years after my Dad had graduated that I didn't take the time to notice that my last name wasn't strong enough to bridge the gap between my high school performance and what Baylor looks for in a student. I was crushed, humiliated, and so instantly lost with the realization that the only school I applied to had rejected me. This, friends, is not a great feeling. 

In the next few weeks I was offered a Volleyball scholarship to San Jose State and a chance to pursue my dreams of being a Fashion Designer in Chicago. The scholarship offer was nice, but I had to get out of California, at least for a little bit, or I am confident I would have destroyed both myself and my future. After an underwhelming visit to the Illinois Institute of Art with my mother, I was discouraged but determined to succeed. So in August of 2008, I left home in need of fixing. I had a broken heart, a crushed spirit, and a complete loss for who I was in Christ and what He had in store for me.

The nine months I would spend attending school there would be the most transformative nine months of my life. (Except for my forming in my mama bear's womb, I guess.) I lived on my own for the very first time- which was a huge adjustment coming from a family of nine. It was very quiet, and very strange. But in that quiet I was able to find out who God was and that He loved me. I had been a believer my whole life, but I had always known God through my parents.  Those nine months taught me to love Him, seek Him, and know Him for myself. I met my best friend in class, because at a wildly liberal Art College, we were both the only people looking for a church. I met the love of my life and learned how to build a Christ centered relationship. And after those nine months, I was offered another volleyball scholarship- this time at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I had soaked up all the knowledge, wisdom and experience Chicago had to offer me, and I was headed back to California a new woman. 

That was five years ago. When I was a young girl, I had only been able to paint the image of the college experience I could create in my head. I pictured football games and parties, sororities and enormous lecture halls, dorm rooms and letterman jackets…and even though that is what I thought I wanted more than anything in the world, as always, God had a better plan for me. His plan was terrifying and confusing, unusual and uncomfortable, but here, on the other side of it, I can say that though it was all of those things, even more so it was purifying, gratifying and empowering. The way that a diamond sits stubbornly nestled in stone, unwilling to budge, hiding it’s unmatchable shine under the dirt and grime has become the illustration of my life, and the perfect illustration of my college experience. My father has called me his diamond in the rough ever since I can remember, encouraging me that even though I saw myself as dim and hidden, one day I would shine for all to see. The Lord mined me out of the stone, ever so gently, and allows me to look back on what I went through and proudly say, “It was so worth it.” This is my reminder to never fear when our plans don't work out, because God is always preparing something so much better than we can comprehend. 

I will share a little more of my college experience in the next couple weeks, as I am currently preparing for my last string of college Finals. Now that is a sentence we can celebrate. 

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

 Jeremiah 29:11

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. 
                                                                                       Proverbs 16:9