Thursday, February 28, 2013


I have been in a bit of a funk lately.

And it has been extremely difficult for me to admit this to myself, much less anyone else.

In one sense, I feel like I have no right to feel down, sad, even depressed. On the surface it seems like I have everything going for me. I have a beautiful son, a loving husband, sweet friends, part time work that is flexible and allows for some independence and time with my son, a lovely house, etc etc etc.

Yet something is off. Its difficult to explain, this emptiness, this hollowness. And how quickly it feels like it came on. Not so much post partum, but just in the last couple of months. Who knows, it could be hormonal, I am getting to the end of nursing here.

I have a few theories. Actually one long rambling one. Bear with me, if you dare.

You see I have always kept myself busy. Crazy. Busy. I have always worked at least one job, several hobbies, worked out, planned for the next upcoming parties or trips, etc. I can fill up my time with mindless internet surfing, reading, shopping, tv like its nobodies business. And now with the addition of a child, the past year has been one crazy hectic trip of a lifetime.

So what has happened recently? Recently I have been working on quieting things. Less shopping. Running had to take a break for a foot injury. Less tv. Less screen time. I work only 2 days a week. And child rearing has taken a short break from the crazies as we have a nap and night time sleep schedule we fell into and Ben is just such a happy kid.

In short, I have fewer things to distract myself from the things I have always been distracting myself from. The clutter is gone and now what I have are an awful lot of self-deprecating thoughts and issues that I have been avoiding looking at and dealing with.

Oh, so so many.

I have always known that my greatest fear is not lawn-mowers as I usually joke about. Or tornadoes or even canned tamales. My #1 greatest fear is insignificance. As I try desperately to articulate #2 in my head, it probably comes out in some form of abandonment/weakness/being broken scramble.

Without trying to place too much blame on one person, these fears and insecurities go back very very far. To a year that I have been working hard to make some sense of in an attempt to make peace with it. It is quite the process.

Long story short...which one day I will tell the long story I am sure... in the matter of one year, my parents divorced, we moved to a new home/small farm, I was in a pretty horrific accident with a lawn mower where I almost lost a limb and had several subsequent surgeries, my dad remarried and moved away and I am sure lots of other stuff. He was never really close to us after that. Huge changes. Huge losses. And as I look back and see the progression of things, I think part of me always thought some of this was my fault. Had this accident never happened, had I not been weak/broken, etc, maybe he would have stuck around.

Additionally, it seems forever after whenever I did ask for help, assistance, attention, I was shot down. Therefore anything I need I have learned to figure out how to do it or get it myself. And praise was out of the question. Therefore I have learned to not ask for help. Or anything for that matter. It is possibly the most difficult thing for me to do in the world.When I do, it is no small potatoes.

And so I have some serious difficulties with being sick, hurt, feeling unimportant. Asking people to be with me. I wish I could explain to you  how crazy-making it was to hurt my foot last month because of this. Even being pregnant and child birth was affected by these issues.

How if I am not tough, if I don't buck up, show any weakness, present anything less than some warped sense of perfection, then I will not be loved. If I am tough, show no weakness, buck up, pretend to be perfect, then no one will leave. People will actually want to be around me.

Shit this is so difficult to write and possibly put out there. For the very reasons I am expressing.

And yet it is this very thing that keeps me at arms distance from people. It keeps me afraid to let people close because if they get close enough, they will see the imperfections and abandon. They will shoot me down if I express a need or want. I have been told that I can be intimidating....what?? me??? But really, who wants to be around someone who is intimidating? Who shows no weakness? This is not my true self.

And when I do feel insignificant, I shut down. Literally. I shut people out. I sulk. I become a negative Nelly. I do nothing. And literally become insignificant. The very thing I fear.

And thus this impending sense of being alone. Loneliness. Even in a crowd of wonderful people and things.

And when all is quiet, this sense can be deafening.

I had a small melt down the other day. One of many recently for me. Where I just could not get it together. It was, of course, in isolation. Where no one could see or hear me. Cause God-forbid someone see me cry. In my pity party I started to question why I am and feel so alone. Why was I left and abandoned when I needed a father figure the most?

While my heart was raging, a still small voice comforted me, saying "you were never alone" "I was always there". And it is something I have always known in my heart, but the thoughts and beliefs tuned it out. Disconnected. God has always been with me. I am someone,  and always have been to the one who created me.
 And this is what I need to work to replace my old belief set with.

How the hell do you do that? Well, for starters, the message I received the other day, I have written in a place where I can refer to it daily. To remind myself what I need to know.

Here is my message to myself, perhaps its for you as well:

"you are significant
always have been
and now you have the most significant role of your life. Don't give up. Giving up will do significantly more damage than fighting through any demons

You are not alone. God has always been there through everything. Even when you felt alone.

You are significant in Christ"

I'm not a giver-upper.

May you be blessed

Sunday, February 24, 2013


So I know we are almost 2 weeks in, but I have given a lot of thought to my Lenten practices this year.
I have always done or given up something because "that is the right thing to do". In the past I have given up salt, and if you have any understanding of my salt-a-holic family, you might see how big of a deal that is. In recent years Bill and I have together given up sweets. Its actually usually harder for Bill to do that it is for me. Of couse we get our fill the day (or 2) before it starts with our fair share of Paczi's and love to share them with co-workers and clients

( did one go missing...???)

But in all seriousness, why in the world am I giving up something for Lent?

Now I am not about to go into theological discourse. And if I wanted to, I could cite lots of biblical texts and early Christian teaching, but what I want to say is why "I" celebrate Lent. And some thinking I have been doing and some changes I want to make.

I "give up" things at Lent because it makes me feel like a good person, a good Christian.Which is so sad and not enough, I know. I also think that when I crave a sweet, it makes me think of "why else" I am suppsoed to be giving up a sweet. And it prompts me to think about God. Goodness. Holiness. It reminds me Easter is coming. And truly it just makes me think about God more. I mean, sometimes, I do think "God, I just want a cupcake!!!" . Sometimes, positive, sometimes negative thoughts towards God. But I think that it what God desires, is communication. AND it certainly helps that while I am out of the habit of eating sweets for 6 weeks, I am then out of the habit of craving them, which is jsut plain good for my diet and my body. So , mostly selfish reasons.

Recently I have been thinking a little bit differently. This year, I "give up" things for Lent because, in a sense, I have everything I could ever want or need. I have access to every candy bar, cupcake and sweet roll I could ever desire. But not everyone does. Actually, when you look at the world at large, I think I am in the uper 1-2% of wealth, and I do not consider myself wealthy in any shape or form. At least not compared to the Jones' next door here in America. I think real love and Godliness is serving those who can do nothing to ever repay you. There are more passages in scripture about serving the poor, needy, widow, broken and downtrodden than almost any other topic. I want to keep my mind aware of how good I have it and then "what do I do about it"

So that is my other half of my Lenten practice this year. Bill has alrady always been awesome about monthly donations to local food banks/pantries. I love that he does it, but have never been activly invovled in doing it or even reminding him or helping him to do it. I now want to. And for Lent, I want to up the ante. We will not only be "giving up" something for Lent, but "Doing" something for others.

Each week of Lent we will be donating a full paper bag of groceries to a local food bank/pantry.

Here is our first one.

Happy Lent.

Friday, February 22, 2013


For fun , or insanity, I have decided to attempt Jillian Michaels 30 day shred.
Jillian Michaels: 30 Day Shred

I tell you this for 2 reasons.

1. I think Jillian Michaels is awesome. I watch her on the Biggest Loser (we all have our guilty pleasures) and and listen to her podcasts. She talks about the science behind fitness, not just the fads. Actually fads piss her off and its fun to hear her rant and rave. Additionally, her mom is a psychologist so she often works with the psychology of fitness. A lot of her ideas on food and nutrition validate what I already feel about organics fruits and vegetables and grass fed beef. I think she knows what she is doing.

2. Perhaps I am bored. But I want to shake up my fitness regime as the cold it getting to me. So I am really interested in seeing if it really works. it is literally only a 20 minute workout, but you need to do it almost every day. And I have 20 minutes. I just always feel like my workouts need to be much longer to be effective. This workout is designed to be intense and effective and short. And I also believe to run well, and avoid my stupid injuries, I need to work on building my muscle strength.

I finished day 3 today.

And to tell you the truth, I wasn't sure it was going to be that good or hard. But can I tell you, my body is aching from a 20 minute work out. Burning. So you know its doing something. And I like the method. It is not boring and I know what to expect each time, which with this video, is not a bad thing.

Today it was short enough that I could start it, and my son woke up form his nap halfway through. I went up to get him and brought him downstairs with me and put him in his playpen (yes, I use one momma did and so do I). And only had 10 minutes left, which is plenty of time to keep my son occupies with some Little People, puffs and he bopped to the music himself.

I'll update you in 30 days to see if we notice any changes. And if I can keep up!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bullying: its not just for adolescents

I heard a story about bullying today from a few different angles/perspectives.

The story goes:

At lunch, those gathered around their unofficial self/assigned seats, were getting ready to start their meal. One guy at the table starts to pick on another table member for a minuscule reason. Something she was wearing- couldn't she or her family afford better? He knows he saw her family member driving a BMW. Apparantly there had also been condescending commentary made about her religious affiliation. As if this were 1940 Nazi Germany. Seriously?

This was going on for maybe 20-30 minutes before someone from the neighboring table gets up, marches over the to the other table and chews out the bully for his rotton behavior. Saying that his words, attitudes and behaviors were unacceptable and would not be tolerated and was ready to report this to staff. She and another few observers moved their stuff over to where the bullying victim was sitting and surrounded her with support and good conversation, keeping a watchful eye on the bully.

Aparantly this happened about a week ago and the bully has kept his distance and the "victim" is feeling supported loved and accepted by others.

I cannot tell you how proud I am of those who stood up and did the right thing. Seriously, sometimes that is all it takes to change the trajectory of gossip and attitudes and behaviors. One person to stand up and say how unacceptable such horrible behavior is. Everyone else may have been thinking it, but one person said it. And it was not merely intentions, but actions that made the difference

Oh, and where did this incident take place? Sounds like a high school or junior high lunchroom, doesn't it. Maybe even a corporation? A prison?


A senior community. Even seniors can be bullies. And seniors can also be heroes.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

back to the grind

Well, to be honest, I have not been running in a few weeks.If you are not "in the know", here is why
please disregard the throw up of toys in the background and notice the color difference between my two feet.

The discoloration actually happened several days after this injury. There was almost no swelling, which is a good thing. I actually was fairly certain I broke  my foot for a few days. I may never know, because I never got it checked out. Since I could still walk, I and because I was terrified to know the truth, I never went. Shame on me.

In typical Jenna style, I hurt it doing something fairly mundane. I was rushing around to get a few things in order at home before my guitar lesson came over. While stepping into the garage, the two downward steps it takes to get there, I managed to ignore their existence and land very awkwardly on the outside of my right foot. After about a minute of swearing I continued to grab the music stand and take it into the house. Even with a limp.

Walking has finally become not painful or uncomfortable in any way shape or form, but still decided to give it a few weeks.

This last week I started gradually doing some workouts in the basement on the bike and then the elliptical. Always checking for sensitivity during and afterwards.

And  I can finally say that I went for my first run in several weeks. It was mighty cold, and I forgot my neck warmer, but figured I wan't gong too far as this was a literal test run. I went 2.5 miles and felt good and continue to feel good. My second run was just as good. But indoors. And a bit longer.

I am a little bit behind on my training for the Illinois half and have some ground to make up, but since I had already started and know that it takes months to lose the cardio  training I had established, I figure it won't take too long to get where I need to be. Its only 2 and a half months now until my sister and I run a half marathon together!

I can't wait until we have the chance to do an actual training run together next weekend when she is up for Ben's birthday party.

Which reminds me, we are still looking for your support. We are running to raise money for a local domestic violence agency. We are about 50% to our goal of $1,000. Please consider supporting our cause. Any amount makes a huge difference. Or please help us by promoting our fundraiser. Put it on Facebook, your blog, a forum, whatever. Your support and backing inspires me to get out there and continue my training.\\

Here is our fundraising page in case you are interested.

Prayers, encouragement and accompanying me on training runs are also welcome!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Fair Trade Easter, Eggs in the Basket Giveaway

Eggs in the BasketWelcome to Eggs in the Basket hosted by SAHM of Drama Queens & a Prince and Mommy of One and Counting. Together with several other bloggers we are helping you to fill up those Easter baskets this year. Make sure you check out the grand prize packages on the hosts blogs as well as the linky and hop along and enter all the giveaways!
Well, I am trying out my first giveaway. And am excited to share some of my favorite things/products that you can use this year for Easter and/or put in your little ones Easter Basket.

Since I am a huge fan of Fair Trade, and will explain why in a moment, my prize will consist of two Fair Trade items:

The first a Fair Indigo Jiffy The Giraffe Fair Trade Organic Stuffed Animal, Orange. Made in Peru by a small cooperative. retail $24.99
soft and cuddly! I would LOVE to keep this for my own son!

Second is 2 Fair trade Chocolate bars from Endangered Species brand. (retail 2.99 each)

we buy these chocolates regularly at our local health food store. They are so delicious!

Halloween got me started thinking this year. When I buy toys and chocolates from most major companies, the products are made at the hands of small children or are exploiting families to make barely a living wage so that we can have these products. Toys for my child at the expense of another. It seems kind of wrong.

Our family is beginning to look at our spending habits and where we are choosing to get products from for our child. Our son just turned one. And for his birthday received some wonderful gifts from friends and family. He also received a few gifts from us, his parents, most made in America by small businesses or craftsman, keeping jobs in the US. Or were Fair Trade. Not all, but most.

And I recognize that it is impossible to keep everything local, made in the US or Fair Trade, but it would make such a difference to switch just a few things. To encourage our jobs to stay domestic and those that are abroad, for workers to earn a fair living wage. So maybe we have fewer things, that might cost more, but where you feel better about where they came from.

Thanks for hearing my rant and entering my little contest.

Open to US and Canada only

To enter via rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Ben's Big Day

Today, last year, we were packing up to take our little buddy home. I remember thinking so many things. "what do I do now?" "I can't believe I get to take him home!" "What can't I do for 2 weeks (many many things apparantly)" "millions of people do this every day, I can do this too..."

A year in we are a bit more comfrotable and confidant in what we do, in making decisions, and in being ok to make mistakes.

His birthday this year we had an eventful day. One I had a lot of fun planning and was ok with however it was going to turn out. Good, bad, germs, over tiredness, whatever.

it started out that his birthday was on Ash Wedesday, so he and I went to get our ashes.
(you can faintly see them on his forhead. he mostly was able to rub them all off by the end of the service.)
After nap and lunch and daddy coming home early from work, we went out to the Round Lake Children's Museum. I only found out it existed the week before. And it is one of few places for a kid as young as Ben to be able to check out and enjoy. We spent a good hour or so there before, and mostly to ourselves before it was getting towards nap time and we checked out.
He then came home, and refused to nap. So we indulged him in some gift opening and his birthday cupcake.

Somewhere in the midst of all that we also went out to dinner at a new local place that I have been dying to check out. Maybe when Ben is more aware we will go to one of those choo-choo restaurants. But this place called "Ad-Lib"  they have a small menu that changes daily and they source from many local farms or places that employ sustainable farming practices (including fishing- wild caught). My only concern in the foi grais on the menu.
Overall quite the lovely birthday for my sweet boy!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

For never before in story or rhyme

Not even once upon a time

Has the world ever known a you,          my friend

And it never will, not ever again

Heaven blew every trumpet

And played every horn

On the wonderful marvelous night you were born


Happy 1st Birthday "Little Buddy"

Monday, February 11, 2013

A year of great joy

One year ago my life changed forever. Irreversibly. Beautifully. Chaotically. And meaningfully.

My little Benjamin Jordan turns the big 1 on Wednesday.

And we love birthdays in my house (ok, I force everyone to love birthdays in my house). So this will be a busy blog post week for me. Hold on tight.

This will be one of many "birthday" related posts and my sweet sweet son.

In this one, I wanted to share in a bit of a montage the progression and highlights of the first year that "my heart began walking outside of my chest" (*sigh* its so true...)

February 13th at 12:42 am, after an induction and about 15 hours of labor and 20 minutes of pushing, we were blessed to finally meet this sweet face. I literally could not get over how flawless he was.

The first month was a glorious blurr. I do remember a lot of cuddling, staring in wonder and disbelief, picture taking and sleeping on the new recliner I insisted we did not need.

The second month I started feeling slightly less incompetant. Slightly. Ben had his first holiday of Easter where he slept through the entire service and enjoyed hanging out with all of his cousins. He started some "ooh"s and "ahh"s  and that first glorious smile.

Somewhere between the 2nd and third month we decided to give cloth diapers a try. I tend to be somewhat hippi-ish and waste and earth conscious, but it seemed too difficult from the outside. After deciding it wouldn't hurt to try, I did. And we haven't turned back since. I'm an AIO kind of girl. Elemenals or Chelory if you understand.

In May, on Mothers day, he was baptised. A beautiful day with lots of family. My momma was there in spirit. The priest pretty much drenched Ben in the waters, which Ben didn't appreciate so much.


By month 5 it was finally getting warm enough to take himoutside for long periods of time. He loves the outdoors. True story, any time he fusses, a no-fail way to get him to calm down is to simply step outside, onto the front step or onto the deck or for walks. So needless to say he enjoyed some fun time helping us garden and pull weeds and generally looking cute. To be fair we were going on many a walk with our friend April back in March when it was in the 80s.

 If you remember it got hotter than Hades in July, his 6th month, so we spent a lot of time indoors. Sans many clothes, just a diaper. Now of course in winter I dress him up every day. He started rolling a ton and was quickly thereafter able to start sitting up on his own. . I did get really good at taking him with me everywhere. Grocery store, Menards, girls trips. I belive this was the month of the Galena girls trip and seeing Ms. Jennie in Iowa, no? He was soooo good. But that is normal.

August is Bill's birthday, so did our first real family trip, (not counting holidays and family visits) only up to Door County, but a trip/vacation none the less. All 3 of us. All official. We did a fish boil, hiked the Penisula State Park, did wineries, played in the lake. Shopped. And ate. A lot. We also had a fun visit with baby cousin Lia. Looks like she loves to laugh as well!

This is also when we started solids. I believe his first food was heavily milked rice cereal. Then switched to oatmeal. Had that for several weeks and added things like sweet potato. Avocado. He has since expanded his repituare of foods and rarely says no to anything.

Oh that 8th month was starting to get fun. No really. Ben's first tooth emerged. And we have been soo incredibly blessed that teething has been no big deal. A little fussy, eh. maybe woke up a tiny but more. but thats it. The biting that came later when he had some uppers and lowers in was a different story. He also started doing super cute things on command like clapping. He gets so proud of himself with stuff like this.

Month 9 was some fall fun. We went to a pumkin patch and this little fall celebration at our hospital where is insane cuteness as Master Yoda got him into the local paper. He also enjoyed helping me pass out Trick or Treats and now looks for Kitty when we say her name.

Month 10 had some major milestones like his first crawling! Army crawl, and will do it this way for months! He started turning pages in book when read together (one of my favorite things!) He is so stinking interactive and becoming more and more fun. This is also when we celebrating Thanksiving at Gramma Burris' and visited Santa for the first time. Which, he was not a big fan.

And then came the month of Christmas. It was so much fun watching him open up his first presents under a tree with his Christmas pjs and a Santa hat. Then spending time with family. I took probably about 1,000 pictures of him that day. And don't forget the craziness of the sister Christmas with Ben's first ever brewery tour. My favortie thing he started doing this month is chasing kitty when he crawls and shouting "hi-ya!" as he crawls. Also throwing his own ball and chasing after it and repeating that process over and over.


Month 12
And here we are. The 12th and final month. Its weird to think that this time last year I was anxiously anticipating his arrival. He has gone from crawling army style to crawling on all fours. He pulls himself up to standing and goes all the way up the stairs. He waves hello to everyone. He pulls out all of his little toy boxes and raids the cabinets. I love letting him explore and get into things. I really love his adventurous spirit and do not wanter to damper it, only if it gets unsafe. And he has learned how to "pet kitty nice!" It melts my heart.

And in a flash my little guy is a toddler. I want to soak in every single second. I can't even get mad when he occaionally wakes up at 2 am. I just feed him and stare at him and rub my fingers hrough his little tufets of blonde hair, becasue well, before I know it, he will be going to Kindergarten, college, getting married, etc. And right now, is what I have.

What a wonderful exciting year it has been.

With my "Little Buddy"