To My Best Friend Who Just Had A Baby

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You, my best friend, had a baby on Friday! She’s tiny, gorgeous, and perfectly healthy. A new life born to do good, bad and everything in between. You are one more in a string of friends that have recently had babies. Everywhere I go, I am surrounded by adorable pictures of adorable kids doing adorable things.

Outside I coo and I make cute noises and I could just eat up every single one of them. I snuggle the few I’m allowed to see. They are each beautiful in their own unique ways.

Inside I cry, I rage, and I beat the hell out of myself for not doing this thing that is the epitome of womanhood. I can already feel you drifting away from me. It started with you telling me not to come see you at the hospital and then not to visit until you are “ready.”

I get it. You want some private time with the new love of your life. You want grandmom and grand-pop to come and snuggle her up and make her laugh. You want close family to come and adore this life you created and celebrate with you and your husband. The same husband who STILL did not build the crib for her (I seriously want to hit him for that). She’s been alive barely two days and already you are so in love you can’t imagine life without her. I get it. I really do.

But I miss you. I miss our long talks, and our laughter, and our friendship. I miss being able to call you up and get and give comfort. I miss our passion and our absolute faith in God. Did you know I’m struggling right now to know if what I believe is true? How could you? We barely see each other as both of us settled into our careers, me a Social Worker, and you one of the best damn middle school History teachers out there.

I miss all of my friends that have joined the Sisterhood of Motherhood. It is a club I am excluded from. And I am so happy you got in because you wanted this for so long. But I wish I was there too. I wish we could have our kids grow up together and marvel at all the small miracles like when they first roll over, or crawl, or walk, or say that first precious word. But the door has been firmly shut in my face by friend, after friend, after friend and even a few family members. It’s not that you shut the door unkindly. It is just a space I don’t belong and can’t understand because I am not a mother.

So congratulations my dear friend. I am so thrilled about the journey you and your husband are now on. I will miss you but should you need me, I will come running. After all, that is what best friends are for.

 

toes

Branding Yourself

So I’ve been hearing about this concept lately called Branding. The idea is that your turn yourself into a marketable “brand” that people will want to have. If this is not a new concept, sorry I’ve missed the boat until now.

So I was thinking about what my brand would be. How would I market myself into something the world would like? Then I thought, why do I care? Who do I have anything to prove something to? Who came up with this idea? Can I go punch them in the nose.

Then I realized that this would be a fun writing exercise and no longer wanted to hit someone. So here goes my “brand.”

Brand Name: Love and Light International

Mission: To bring love, light, and hope to all the people I encounter, regardless of when and where.

Sales Projections: Financially, this brand will never be a Fortune 500 company, but they are generous with their time and resources.

Special Skills of this Brand:
Two ears to listen and not judge.
One mouth to bring hope and encouragement.
Arms and hands to hug (with permission of course)
Faith that guides me to care more about others than myself
A degree in Psychology that is occasionally useful
Life Experience and Being an Empath

Areas Still Being Worked On:
Creating boundaries with others
Empowering versus saving others

I know that this was kinda corny but I actually enjoyed it. So what do you think of my “brand”? Is it reasonable? Would you want to “hire” or buy me if I was a product? Thanks for reading!!

An Old Poem I Wrote

Prayers are wishes
Thrown to the Almighty above
Asking for things
We shall never know

Wisdom, peace, knowledge
These are all fleeting
On a planet
Condemned long ago

Love does not exist
Without pain to coincide
Nor grace
Without condemnation preceding

Have faith whispers the masses
As they ignore the broken souls
They trample on Each and every day

Just believe
Thunders the man behind the pulpit
Ignoring the reality
Beyond the stained glass doors

What if instead of service
Predictable and sure
We took the hour to really listen
And be honest before friends and God

How many pews would we fill
How much money in the plate
If we allowed the Spirit to lead
Instead of the charlatan.

Jenny Hansen
Originally Written 05-04-13

Leftovers

For years I’ve had this terrible habit. I will go to a party, a family gathering, or somewhere that involves food and people. I laugh, I eat, I have a good time….and then I take home leftovers.

Even when I know there is too much for my husband or I to eat, I take it home. Even when people say, oh I’ll just throw this out…I just can’t let it happen. So we break out the paper plates or if its a best friend or family member you might get lucky and get Tupperware or an old plastic container that used to hold grated cheese or something else when the person is tired of having to replace their Tupperware or Rubbermaid.

I come home and plop it in the refrigerator. And it sits there…..and sits there……and sits there until it becomes moldy or old or smells funny. Then I throw it out. Sometimes I will eat part of it, especially if it was a really good dish or dessert. But almost never the whole thing.

So after recently throwing yet another something away, I started to think about why I do this knowing 9 times out of 10 I will not finish or ever eat this food. And I think I had a kind of AH-HA moment.

I keep the food because I want to keep the moment. I want to savor the happiness, the comfort, the essence of that day, that event. I want to keep it close and that is sometimes why I take but do not eat. I also think this may be why dessert has a higher chance of getting eaten (aside from I’m a fat kid who loves cake). Dessert usually involves sugar or sweetness and that usually makes you happy.

So thank you for listening to my little revelation for the day. Also I may not always eat the food but I ALWAYS return the container 🙂

Today Was One Of Those Days

Everyone has a bad day at work every now and then. You cry, you scream, watch a movie, play a video game, pet your cat, and move on. Bad days come and go and sometimes you can even laugh about them.

Then there are the days that make you question why you are in this field and if you actually have any faith left in humanity anymore. Today was one of those days.

This week has been crisis after crisis. Then I get a new referral for a family. And it’s a doozy. I can’t share details for obvious reasons (HIPPA Privacy Laws and wanting to keep my job and all that). But this family knocked me on my ass, ripped out my heart, stomped on it a few times, and left me totally speechless and crying for all the pain they have been through.

I don’t understand how human beings can be so cruel to one another. I really don’t get it. Then they drag their children through their mess not caring about the damage they are doing. It is so unconscionable. The damage done as a child can have long lasting effects. It can literally change the way the brain operates in the future and not in a good way. I can personally attest to this.

Please pray for this family tonight. I can’t give any details but just pray for comfort, healing, and peace. Also pray that I can hold myself together enough to be of use to this family and that I will have the right words they need to hear.

The People/Personalities In My Head

Raven is what I have called my dark side, my depressive, downcast and miserable self. I picture her as my emo self back in high school.

Mia is my over the top, angry, excitable girl who flies off the handle at everything. She is my Taurus and stubborn Irish side. I picture her as an overweight, red headed cutie that others love to be around until she flies off the handle.

Harmony is the side that tries to keep it all in balance. She is my rational side. She is hard to access but when I can, she is really helpful. Sometimes friends and family have to remind me she’s still there. I picture her as kind of a hippie with long flowing clothes that have flowers, wears a flower crown and is gentle to all. She is my peaceful side.

Little Jenny is my true heart and center. She is the one that still hopes and dreams and refuses to let her little light die. I picture her as a cherubic child wearing a white little dress like you would see a flower girl wear to a wedding. She has curly hair, and there are little bells on her dress that tinkle as she moves. She is pure love and light. She is the hardest to access because she is usually buried under all the worries, concerns, and anger I sometimes feel. But when I do access her, WOW! Meditation and Yoga tend to help me get to her.

It helps me to categorize these feelings and moods as other people because I always feel I can help other people. So if I’m having a bad day, then I can say Oh that’s just Raven again. Raven basically was responsible for my last blog post. But I can help Raven by accessing other “people” or parts of myself.

I know this sounds weird but I have been trying to explain my head to other people and why I feel the way I do and this is the best way to get it across.

I had breakfast with a friend yesterday and I took a day off work and it definitely helped. My doc also upped my sleep meds so I got a decent night’s sleep which also helped. Hopefully Raven can take a nap soon so that I can concentrate better at work and stop being so miserable.

Sending you all love and the light of God. ❤

Spring Forward

I know it’s been awhile since I posted anything new. I wish I had a good reason such as things are spectacular and life is grand and I can’t WAIT to tell you all the good news. Sadly, this is not that post.

Every year around March, for some unknown reason, we spring our clocks ahead for an hour. I know back in the day it had something to do with farming but we are not all farmers now. I usually have an easy time adjusting to this change more than the one where we go back. But right now I’m struggling with changes of any kind.

I want some stability. I want to Spring Forward to the place where I don’t give a crap what anyone says about me but I can still handle it gracefully. I want to Spring Forward to that place where everything is okay, the pandemic is over, people are done being extreme assholes in the name of their “freedom,” people stop bitching about the election on both sides of the fence, and we can get back to a country we can be proud of again.

Everything feels so extreme right now. Facebook is a minefield you have to navigate to keep your friends and family from hating you. My mother in law is convinced that every time we leave the house we’re going to die and is fully convinced we are going to be a Socialist country soon and all our rights are being taken away and everything we worked hard to earn is going to be gone in a puff of smoke. She told me to get a safe and put all my money in it and then cut a hole in my floor to hide it.

I am tired of being scared. I am tired of anxiety. I am tired of being depressed. I am tired of all the complaining, the whining, the “canceling” of things, the everyone being offended by everything and being so damn sensitive you can’t even say God Bless you without being offended that you said the word God. Give me a break, seriously. Maybe what this country needs is a giant Kit-Kat bar to take a break, then a Snickers bar to release the hangry, some puppies and kitties, and babies and whatever else is adorable to get the focus off the hate.

My heart hurts. My head hurts. I just want to give up. I want to go to sleep and never wake up. I’m just so tired. It feels like it will never end, never get better. My faith is kinda there but not. My job makes me cry constantly. I can’t sleep, I’m stress eating, and I cope by playing video games, burning candles, reading books, and playing on my cell to just numb me so I don’t have to think. I can’t concentrate at work, I’m falling behind, my team is a wreck, and I just can’t find the energy to care.

I’ve had so many goals for my life that are never going to be accomplished and that brings me so down. I’m going to be 39 in April and what do I have to show for it? Maybe a dozen kids total who I actually was helpful to and a ton of parents who think I am a piece of garbage.

So I came here tonight to vent. To cry and type, and try to get some of it out. Because the pain is a poison in my soul that leaves no room for love or light to get in. Please say a prayer for me. I really could use some right now.

Sending some love to all my fellow writers and readers. Hang in there even if it is by the slimmest of threads. Some day it will get better even when it doesn’t feel like it.

Peace, Love and Kitten Kisses ❤

COVID and Elections: Hell In A Cell

When I first started dating my husband he was very into wrestling and loved to watch shows like Raw and Smackdown. For the uninitiated the WWE is a soap opera for men with pretend fighting that looks real and sometimes can actually cause real injuries or even death. I’m not a huge wrestling fan but it doesn’t bother me if it is on.

One of the most interesting matches I would watch with him was called Hell In A Cell. Basically the two combatants would be in the ring and a 24 foot high steel cage would descend from the ceiling and cover the ring. The only way out was to pin your opponent. But everything went in this match and there were no disqualifications, pretty much anything went. It was brutal and definitely not for the faint of heart (I know it’s fake but sometimes you honestly forget that when a huge man is jumping down on someone from on top of a huge steel cage).

Ever since March I feel like I have been part of a Hell In A Cell match with COVID. I have ducked, I have dodged, I have occasionally fought back but COVID is a strong opponent that keeps changing tactics. Faucci, public opinion, masks, no masks, sanitizer, gloves, death, hospitalizations, etc. It was enough to drive you mad. But eventually I kind of got to a place where I could sort of breathe (with a mask on of course!).

Then came election season. The tag team partner of COVID that hit me over the head with a brick and then whacked me with a steel chair while I was down and has not stopped hitting since.

I have never, in the 38 years of my life so far, EVER seen anything as destructive, divisive, corrupt, cruel, or soul sucking as this election has been. There have been mud slinging campaigns at election time. There always will be because people are people. But this took it to a whole other planet of attack.

People I love, people I care about, who I thought I knew well are ripping each other apart over this election. I can’t stand it, my heart and stomach both literally ache. Oh and don’t forget I get to go to work and hear how COVID is tearing families and communities apart.

Yesterday I attended church via online (still not comfortable going back yet even though they’re allowing up to 50 people inside). The topic of the sermon was “A Nation Divided.” The first 3/4 of the sermon were great. We should not judge others for their choices. We are not going to tell you how to vote. But use the Bible as your guide to how God wants you to vote.

And then….
it fell…..
completely apart…

I was told that as a Christian I should vote for someone that (fill in four political agenda points). I’m not going to share what they were but suffice to say that I did not agree with those four points and therefore felt shamed into thinking I was not a good Christian woman.

I spent the whole day on a serious rage spiral because I felt attacked on such a deep level. It did not help matters that I am in the middle of a medication change which has left me feeling like an exposed raw nerve every minute of every day. I screamed, I yelled, my husband consoled and validated me and eventually (as always) rage turned into depression and I slept a good portion of the day away until we had to go to his mother’s house for dinner.

Today I took a mental health day from work. I literally laid on the couch for the majority of the day trying not to cry or scream (I failed at not crying). I felt like someone had taken a sledgehammer to my very core. The hate I’ve witnessed, the fear, the frustration, it all came to a head in the last two weeks and I could not even muster the energy to move until about 4:30pm.

I love God so much, I believe in Jesus as my Lord and Savior and that because I believe he died for my sins, I am forgiven by God and will get to go to Heaven one day. That is enough for me. That is my faith and I’m comfortable with that. So for someone to come along and say that this is not true because I don’t vote a certain way hurt me in my soul. My faith is important to me and has gotten me through some rough times. To say I’m not a believer if I don’t do [fill in the blank] is to attack the very core of who I am as a human being. And that hurt.

I have asked my pastor if we can talk about this as it was one of our elders in the church who preached today and I did not feel comfortable talking to him directly as everyone was patting him on the back and telling him what a great sermon it was after it ended. I am waiting to hear back but I feel he will be able to hear my side and not judge me for it. He’s good like that.

So today was simply a venting of frustration, hurt, and pain. Please pray for me or send good vibes my way. This pandemic is killing us in the helping professions and unlike docs and nurses, nobody gives us any credit for the hard work we do (not saying docs and nurses who are killing themselves fighting this don’t deserve 1000% credit, but don’t forget parents, teachers, counselors, and social workers who are feeling this just as hard as they are).

Thanks for listening. Hopefully the next post will be a bit brighter. Spread love not germs ❤



Win A Signed Copy of An New Jerusalem’

My friend Stephen Black is a talented writer and this is his second book. You should check out both the book and his blog as he has a great way of putting things that really makes you think.

Fractured Faith Blog

Good Morning from Northern Ireland. It’s Day 2 of the launch for my new book, ‘The Kirkwood Scott Chronicles: A New Jerusalem,’ and I have a competition for you all that is also being run on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The winner, drawn randomly on Friday, will receive a signed paperback copy of the book with a personalised message. It no doubt will be worth millions in years to come. Yeah right, Stephen.

To enter all you have to do is share this blog post and comment below. The first book in the Kirkwood Scott series, ‘Skelly’s Square,’ is currently available to read via your local Amazon site as is the linked novella, ‘Bomb Girl.’ So get sharing as it could be your lucky day. Thank you to everyone who has been supportive of my writing. You motivate me to keep going through the good times and the bad.

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The Land of Should

(In your mind as you read this please picture the snootiest person you know and read this in their voice. Hope you enjoy!!)

Welcome to the Land of Should! I am your tour guide today and my name is Penny Perfect.If you need assistance and I am not around, They will tell you what you should do as a perfect person like me has many things to do to keep our land of Should running in tip top shape.

The first thing you should notice about our land is that everything is done in shades of either black or white. There are absolutely no shades of gray permitted as things need to be one way or the other. We wouldn’t want to confuse people by muddying the waters with possibilities or exceptions. There are no exceptions allowed here. Our laws are absolute and if you do not follow them all, you shall be kicked out of our territories forever.

Your house should be equal to your status so that people are clear about who you are and what kind of work you do. You should also have a car that matches your status which makes it easier to identify who the rich and powerful are versus those who are just scraping by. After all what would happen if someone rich and powerful stooped down so low as to spend time with people of a different class? They might start having compassion and decide that everyone should be equal and obviously we can’t have that! Can you imagine?!

You should be married if you are a woman and have at least two children. It is not required for your husband to participate in the family other then to be the bread winner. You should put all your dreams and wishes aside to make sure his come true because after all what perfect woman wouldn’t want to do that for the head of their household?

You should strive to be as skinny as possible because after all we are perfection seekers here. Anything above a size 2 is not acceptable and you should work as hard as you can to get here or lower. The absolute most perfect size is double 00 but we do acknowledge that this is difficult to achieve so we do allow the sliding scale from there to size 2. Remember a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.

You should make sure you are always perky, happy, and smiling. We don’t want to bring anyone down with a frown now do we dear? If you are having a difficult day it is okay to drink some mommy juice to take the edge off and make sure that frown turns upside down. If you are really weak and cannot manage to do your duty and be happy, please refrain from leaving your house as it is unfair to all the other women doing their part to make this the loveliest town ever made.

Excuse me, where are you going dear? I haven’t finished the tour yet. What do you mean you are going to look for a home in the Town of Possibilities? Don’t you know how dreadful that place is with their murky rules and exceptions and mingling of perfect people with not so perfect people? There is misery and complications and a lifetime of wondering if you have made the right decisions. At least here you know what the rules are and you know what to expect. Everything is cut and dry, black and white. Why would you want to leave? Well okay speed your little car away.

I don’t understand why nobody want to move in here anymore. Ah well back to smiling brightly and pretending it’s all okay. La te dah, life is great!

*BANG*

There is perfection in silence alone.

They’re Coming To Take Her Away

My grandmom is my heart. She is one of the most selfless, loving, kind, and beautiful hearted people I have known in all of my life. She stood by me when I was struggling through YEARS of anxiety and depression and never gave up on me. She gave me faith when I had none, and she never stopped believing I could get better. Her love carried me through some really rough days.

My grandmom is turning 90 in October and mentally I know she is getting older and slowing down but in my head she’s still my energetic grandmom who could always make me laugh and who is constantly blessing people around her. My two aunts have agreed (without my grandmother’s consent) that it would be best if she moved to Texas to live with my Aunt Donna. My Aunt Joan said it is a done deal but my grandmother doesn’t know this yet.

My grandmom has already told me several times she does not want to live in Texas as all her friends and her church are here and she is very active in her church. She said Texas is hot and my aunt lives about 80 miles from anything to do so she feels she will be bored out of her mind. I agreed she should stay where she is comfortable and local. She said she is going to visit my Aunt Donna in November for three weeks to “shut her up” about pestering her to move to Texas and she plans on coming home. Apparently that is not going to happen and my Aunt Donna has already renovated a suite for her and is planning on her never coming back after that visit.

For the record, just because someone is older does not automatically mean you take away their freedom of choice. I could see if someone had Alzheimer’s or dementia or could not take care of themselves. But my grandmother has meals on wheels delivered to her, her landlord is constantly checking on her, she has someone who cleans her house once a week, she spends time with her neighbors. She has plenty of people who look in on her and care for her.

I know I sound like a spoiled brat who just wants things her way, but as I said before, my grandmom is my whole heart and if she moves, I really feel I will never see her again because I can’t afford to go to Texas (nor do I want to as a Philadelphia Eagles fan). I won’t even get to see her for Christmas and this will totally devastate me. I need her in my life and phones calls are not the same (though we talk often on the phone).

Please pray for wisdom for the situation and for my aunts to be respectful of my grandmother and her choices.