Thank you!  Thank you so much for reading this initial blog post.  This coming June, I will have written for my local Indiana newspaper for ten years.  A decade seems like a long time to crank out a weekly column about various topics.  Some of you enjoy the column and are familiar with me, my writing style, and my quirky take on life.

Some of you have gotten connected to this blog via the Jagger Family CaringBridge page.  In July of 2015, while trying to travel to Virginia Beach for vacation, our family was involved in a wreck.  The implications of a complete stranger making an illegal U-turn in front of us on an interstate just roll on and on and on as my teenage daughter, who was fifteen at the time, is now a paraplegic.  Many of you have followed our lives faithfully and prayerfully over the last 2 1/2 years, and perhaps now you’ve made the decision to follow my weekly blog.  Thank you.

This is a big step for me.  Perhaps it would shock you to know that if I did what I really wanted to do, I would simply become more of an introvert.  I think pre-wreck I had a lot of emotional energy, and now, post-wreck, I feel as if much of that energy has simply been drained.  My daughter’s paralysis and the consequences of the wreck would be difficult enough to live if we weren’t in a bit of a fish bowl; yet, we feel eyes constantly watching us.  You may ask, “Well if you are uncomfortable with everyone watching you, why don’t you stop writing in public forums?”

Great question!

I continue to post on CaringBridge and write for the newspaper because I believe that’s what God has called me to do.  He’s called me to share myself, my family, and this journey so that others can see Him through all of this.  Please know, if you are watching my family and me, you are seeing failures, flaws, and faults.  But if you are watching God, you are certainly seeing grace, goodness, and gifts of mercy.

I’ll admit, I’m totally nervous to start this blog.  It’s why I’ve dragged my feet launching it.  There’s no denying that a decent portion of why I’m starting it is to try to create a job for myself to help with the continuing bills for Alissa’s paralysis.  Maybe that’s wrong to admit, but I don’t think too many people could blame me for wanting to do everything I can to financially help my daughter.

Be prepared, blog readers, I l-o-v-e classic Broadway musicals!  In the Broadway musical “Hello, Dolly!” the main character, Dolly Levi, says, “There comes a time in life when you have to decide whether you want to be a fool among fools or a fool alone.”  I actually had that quote hanging in my college dorm room decades ago.  I decided in my early twenties since I was obviously a fool, I would rather be a fool with other people than a fool by myself.  I view this blog as just another step in being a part of the world.  Will I look foolish?  Undoubtedly.  Will there be a few readers who will relate to the words and thoughts I convey on the page?  That’s the goal.  Ask almost anyone who writes why he or she does, and that person may tell you, “I write to share experiences with others.  I write to know I am not alone.”

And so another chapter in my life begins.  Maybe it will succeed.  Maybe it will fail.  There are no guarantees except this: I guarantee it will never be a reality if I don’t give it a shot.  I launch this on January 17, 2018.  I specifically chose this date.  Thirty months ago this morning I watched my daughter walk out of our house for the last time.  I’m tired of the seventeenth of every month representing something gross.  I’m ready for it to be associated with good too.  Again, Dear Reader, thanks for giving Squirrel Chatter a chance.

Until next Wednesday, Lord willing . . . I will share with you why in the world this whole thing is called Squirrel Chatter.