Loving Life: Sissie Jones and Christie Jones Echols

This month in our Loving Life profiles, we are focusing on mothers and daughters. We believe in the power of legacy, one generation teaching the next generation, and the difference it makes.  We are honored to have Sissie Jones and one of her daughters, Christie Jones Echols kick off this special month! Please enjoy!

Sissie

Mom and I recentlymom and I younger

  • Name: Mary Francis Justice Jones, but I go by “Sissie”.
  • Occupation: Consultant for Construction and Renovation at Vantage Health Plan
  • Hometown: Monroe, LA
  • Current city: Monroe, LA
  • Family/Kids: Married 41 years, 4 children, 6 grandchildren (with one more on the way!)
  • Pets: none
  • Any other information (Education/Volunteer/Creative Hobbies): Volunteer at Vantage and I enjoy the outdoors and gardening.
  • Any blog, book, creative endeavor, etc. you’d like to share: I’m very proud of the recently completed renovation of the Vantage State Building in downtown Monroe and I’m excited about the upcoming renovation of the Grand Lobby of the Vantage Tower. Construction is already underway! This two story space has a marbled colonnade that leads you to a charming bakery nestled in the back. My daughter in law, Charity Jones of Butter Bakery, will house her delicious baked goods in glass displays. I can’t wait to get a coffee and a treat there with all our friends from Vantage and the community.  I am also especially proud of the Central Garden next to the Vantage Central Building. Gardening is my first love, and I placed every plant that you see there!

What inspires you?

The beauty of God’s creation. I look to nature to inspire me, from the colors, to the shapes, and design.

Who is your hero?

My hero would be my husband, Dr. Gary Jones. He always shows acts of kindness to those in need. He also has a calming effect on my eagerness to create and complete projects on time. I have learned over the years that everything happens in the good Lord’s timing.

Jones Family in Mom's Garden

What are you learning in this season of life?

You only walk through this world once, you might as well leave a nice trail.

What are you currently reading/watching/listening to?

Every morning for the past 3-4 years, I’ve read Jesus Calling. I need to start the day with a reminder of who is in control and who I am really working for. I try to look for the good in people places and things. I love to recycle and reuse things that have been pushed to the wayside.

I’m reading a book my sister, Barbara Jane Tassin, has written called Bona-Fide and I just finished Resisting Happiness, by Matthew Kelly.

What cause or community initiative do you support? What do you love about it?

I love the idea of restoring the beauty and history of our downtown area.

Describe your perfect day?

Being able to take it easy at home, have coffee time on the back porch with family and friends, and playing in my flowerbeds.

What’s one of your favorite family memories?

One of my favorite memories from when my girls were young, is of working backstage with their ballet company during the Christmas performance. It didn’t seem like Christmas without a ballet.

What is something you enjoy doing with your daughter?

I enjoy designing flowerbeds and re-creating old buildings with Christie. I like to see her creative mind at work. Also she loves to read, and I don’t, so there have been many special times spent with her reading aloud and sharing with me.

My sisters got glamour shots and I got this.

Mom- how do you see yourself in your daughter?

I see myself in my daughter in her willingness to be creative, take on major projects, and make this world a better place. She enjoys the outdoors like I do. Also, neither one of us is “Bossy,” we just have “leadership skills.” ; ). I just love her.

Echols Family

  • Name: Christie Jones Echols
  • Occupation: Architect/Developer/Mom
  • Hometown: Monroe
  • Current city: Monroe
  • Family/Kids: Husband- Michael, Daughters- Amelia 5 and Everly 3
  • Pets: Fish in the pond in the yard.
  • Any other information (Education/Volunteer/Creative Hobbies): Love Gardening and Flower arranging, doing creative projects with my girls, and I’ve been known to really get into birthday parties that I plan. I volunteered to coach girls’ soccer this year (having never played any team sport myself!) and really loved it.
  • Any blog, book, creative endeavor, etc. you’d like to share: I am passionate about Monroe’s historic and cultural districts: Downtown and the Garden District. I currently am working on residential developments for the downtown plus a few other projects. I have been so blessed to have the opportunity to assist my mother in the renovation of the Historic Virginia Hotel, now the Vantage State Building, which recently celebrated its ribbon cutting. I am also very proud of the Affinity Specialty Office on Broadmoor Ave. for which I was the project manager.

What inspires you?

People that I interact with on any given day. Kindnesses I witness, burdens I see borne, people viewing others generously, people striving to make a positive difference. I see this in my family members and in my neighbors, friends, and co-workers. We truly have a wonderful community in NELA. People are selfless and courageous every day. It is very humbling. I must credit my husband for exposing me to a larger community of citizens than I would have ever met without him.

Who is your hero?

Undoubtedly my parents. Mother Teresa says that it is easier to love someone across an ocean (referring to the poor of other countries) than someone in your own household, where you must face their flaws and humanity daily. My parents steady forgiveness and kindness towards each other has built has built a tremendously loving household. Their love towards each other radiates out into their work and relationships with others. They are giving of themselves and always concerned with others. Of course, they are both very accomplished, but I think their success has been built on this foundation.

What are you currently reading/watching/listening to?

I LOVE to read and always have myself surrounded by a number of books. The reality is, with my current schedule and particularly my “Mom” status, I rely on audio books which I listen to while running or in the car. Currently I’m listening to No Greater Love by Mother Teresa, but I really enjoy all of Matthew Kelly’s books. I like to read biographies to help get myself back to sleep when I wake up in the night. I’ve been reading Undaunted Courage chronicling the expedition of Lewis and Clark for at least a year now. It is fascinating, but also always does the trick! I also keep design magazines and parenting proverbs on the coffee table. I start each morning with a devotional or read the Bible. For about a year now, I’ve been meeting with a group of ladies to watch Ted talks and follow with discussion. It’s been eye-opening and a great way to engage with and learn from others.

What cause or community initiative do you support? What do you love about it?

I support the revitalization of downtown Monroe. I believe our history belongs to everyone, and if you are blessed enough to own or have authority over historic property, you should be a responsible steward for the sake of all. Perhaps even more importantly, the health of our downtown plays a critical role in our ability to attract and retain talented people to our community and create economic growth and opportunity. What do I love about it? The amazing people I’ve met on the journey and the strong sense of community I now feel.

Echols Family (2)

What’s one of your favorite family memories?

It’s not a particular moment, but when I think of my family I think of a life time of “coffee times.” The locations shift from couches and porch swings from this house to the next, but there has been a consistency of talking and sharing and also sometimes just quiet togetherness. Though most people would never guess it, I am terribly shy, and these coffee times provide enough time to muster the courage to share my thoughts. I remember many of the conversations. Most of the wisdom passed to me from my parents has come during these times. I witnessed my parents think out loud about their current struggles and joys. They shared what they were learning about life in that moment… I’m not sure if teaching us was the point, or if they just needed to share. Perhaps both. In the past, perhaps five years, we start coffee time with a short daily devotional reading. Of course we are all terrible caffeine addicts.

What is something you enjoy doing with your mom?

My mom isn’t one to hold still (outside of coffee time), so you just have to sort of run up next to her and try to keep pace. I can usually catch a conversation over a pile of laundry, or in a car ride. She is very creative and a talented gardener, and I love to walk through our yards together or just sit and watch her create a flower arrangement. She’s also an amazing, playful grandmother and that’s fun to watch.

My Momma

Daughter- how do you see your mom in yourself?

My mom and I are very different in temperament, but I would say we both live very passionately. We both love to work hard and focus our energy and talents in order to make whatever difference we can. God gave us very similar talents and in the past few years, working together, we’ve been able to collaborate and connect in a way unprecedented in my childhood.

I think of my mom often now as I parent, and am realizing in a new way the depth of her love and sacrifice for me. It’s beautiful. So in my experience as a mother, I am beginning to see for the first time what my mom’s experience must have been.

Thank you, ladies, what a beautiful family you have! Thank you for inspiring us to enjoy the outdoors and appreciate the historical property in our area! Both of you have brought so much beauty and value to our community. 

Also don’t forget our FREE Mother’s Day card printable, check it out here!

5 Comments

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  1. Sherra Fertitta

    What a wonderful article! Great job with these two wonderfully strong women.

  2. This is such a beautiful letter of love from mother to daughter and from daughter to mother!!! You are both such inspirations to those lucky enough to be your friends!! Happy Mothers Day!!!!!!!!

  3. Two of some of my most favorite people here, Sissie and Christie, my sister and my niece, my friends, my family, my loved ones. What a beautiful tribute they’ve both written for one another in so much love and truth. These two are both such amazing people and do things in BIG ways. There are many more admirable traits they both have in common besides those listed in the article here, for example; they are both selfless and generous in their giving in every direction, the both are natural artist and have created beautiful works of art just to name a few.
    I’ve known them both all of their lives (except the first 4years of Sissie’s) and can attest to fact that their hearts are tried and true to the core.
    They, no doubt will leave a beautiful legacy for generations to come.
    I’m so proud of them both as I count them among blessings ~ BJ

  4. You both at beautiful ladies. Wish SHELBY and I could spend time with you again as we did when you were young. We love all of you.

  5. WOW! I am proud of both of them.

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