With A Click Of A Button

Today I had a strange…experience…moment…sense of awareness
I really don’t know how to describe it. I received a referral for a pair of siblings whose mother had just died. Unfortunately I’ve seen this quite a few times as a Care Manager but for some reason this instance really caught me a little off guard.

Prior to my involvement, the mother had been part of the child’s treatment team and thus was listed under the contacts portion of the file. We are only supposed to keep active participants in the child’s file so if someone else takes over, they know who to contact. So since this mother was not going to be part of the children’s treatment because she had passed away, I had to delete her.

It was 2 clicks and she was gone. And for some reason this really hit something deep inside of me about how easy it is to be gone, really gone, with only a few clicks on the computer.

Click…your social security card and identity are gone.
Click..no birth certificate
Click…a death certificate.
Click…payment received for burial
Click…goes the coffin lid
And then you are gone for good.

When I deleted this person’s name, this person I had never met and would never get to meet, I hurt on a deeply human, soul based level, and I almost cried. I really don’t know why. I wasn’t sad today. Nothing bad happened to me personally. But still this moment struck a cord.

The world is messed up on a deep level at this point. Don’t let the ones you love and the ones who desperately need love walk away because you are too busy clicking you life away while they are one click away from gone.

A Child’s Heart

A child’s heart
Right from the start
Is innocent and pure

But then comes along
Two who don’t belong
Together and screw it all up

Behave yourself
Get in line
No I don’t want to talk
I don’t have time

Your heart is breaking?
Get a life

Come deal with my pain
My past
My husband/wife

You’re just a kid
What stress could you feel
Your feelings don’t matter
Your pain is not real

Why are you stomping
And throwing and screaming
I don’t understand
What is the meaning

Get out of my house
No time for attitude today
I am much too busy
Getting my own way

I love you
Don’t leave me
Why are you running away
I need you, I want you,
please stay

Healing begins
But first comes the pain
All the hurtful words
All the terrible shame

But once in the light
The problems will heal
And in it’s place
Comes love so real

A child’s heart
Once broken is changed
The life may improve
But the scars always remain.

~stumbling faith

I wrote this about 9 years ago when I first started my job as a Care Manager of kids with mental and behavioral health struggles. It was heartbreaking to see the things families did to each other. But every day I work I try to make things a little brighter.

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 🙂

Summer Is….

The bright sun beating down on your back as you mow the lawn. Sweat pouring down your face as you just walk from the house to the mailbox and back. Warm rain storms and puddles to splash in. Bright fluffy white clouds and laying on blankets arguing over what each one looks like.

The smell of charcoal grills and propane grills firing up all kinds of goodness; hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, vegetables. Your mom’s potato salad that you don’t really like but you eat because you love her and don’t want to hurt her feelings. It is cherry jello and ice cream with sprinkles (jimmies as they say in Philly) and lots of whipped cream and a cherry on top. It is water ice and pretzels with mustard.

The loud bang of fireworks bright in the sky, twinkling as they fall and disappear. It is a sweaty hand intertwining with another sweaty hand as you walk the boardwalk. It is the pounding of the ocean waves, the smell of pizza and popcorn as you walk down the boardwalk. It is mini-golf, tag, kick the can, and sweet first kisses that you’ll never forget.

The brown skin of my Italian husband and the red skin of my Irish/Polish skin. It is SPF- 100 suntan lotions and sprays. It is the smell of salt and sand and coconut lotion. It is the soothing balm of aloe at the end of a day spent swimming and splashing with friends. It is the best sleep all year because your body is warm and has been soaking up sand and sun all day.

The crackle of bonfires while camping at the lake and eating smores. Ghost stories, late nights, cabins, and finding God. It is the best fruit time and corn on the cob with butter melting down your face time. It is family and friends and a coming together of people who matter most to you. It is lawn chairs and beach chairs and book after book. It is the songs of summer and wearing the coolest shades you can find.

It is a feeling, it is a memory, and it is indescribable although I’ve tried.

 

I Have No Words

I did not know what to say for the last few days. I have no words to express the depth of my sorrow, my anger, my frustration, and the ache in my heart. I am watching the country I grew up in, and loved, tear itself apart.

I am seeing hatred on levels I never thought possible in my lifetime. I am seeing destruction and chaos. I am seeing broken families, broken people, and broken lives.

I keep thinking it can’t get any worse and then 2020 proves me wrong again. I have watched videos of people I respect sobbing, and hurting, and raging. And I can’t do a damn thing for them.

Or Can I….?

I can stand up for people who are being treated as animals and not the beautiful people they are. I can open my mouth. I can protest. I can demand change.

And most of all….

I CAN LOVE PEOPLE JUST AS THEY ARE BECAUSE THEY ARE MY FAMILY!!

I personally believe that God made each and every person exactly who they were made to be with skin tones that vary, and heart and souls that may be different from our own, but still beat and are capable of working together. I believe everyone is my brother and my sister and I will defend them and love them because we are one big family.

I WILL NOT TOLERATE HATE!!

I am crying as I type this because my heart hurts for Mr. Floyd’s family and all the other families who lost a sweet soul for absolutely no reason other then pure hatred.

Please be kind. Please share some love today. It is so needed. And to all the friends I said I didn’t see your color when I looked at you, I apologize because I did see it, I just never saw the difference it made until these last few years. I see you now. I love you. And I stand beside you in respect and solidarity.

Corona Craziness in New Jersey

COVID-19 also known as Corona Virus. We are all talking about it. If you want more details about what it is, how it works, and why it’s such a big deal, please go to a reputable site like the Center for Disease Control or your local government website.

In the past month I have heard so much about this virus I feel like I am a scientific expert on it even though I am clearly not. It has caused the world to talk about it like a celebrity the likes of which we have never knows. It’s all over the radio, the internet, the news, Facebook, Instagram, etc. etc.

Initially, I will be honest, I was getting more and more anxious about it the closer it came to my home. I mean initially it was halfway across the world in China. Then it started to creep into other countries. Then it arrived on the West Coast of the USA. Now I was getting worried. Slowly it made its way across the US and into NJ where I live. It started in the north and crept its way down to where I live.

But now that it’s actually, truly here, I have a strange sense of calm about the situation. Maybe it’s because I’ve been fed medical facts by my husband and our CEO at work about what is really happening versus all the fear mongering going on. But I think the biggest reason I don’t feel afraid anymore is because of a message my pastor sent out right after it was apparent that we were not going to avoid this crisis. He said God has this under control and He will take care of his children. So simple but it hit my heart and soul in a way I can’t really describe in words.

I’m not telling anyone what to believe, I’m just saying for once in my life when everyone else is panicking I actually feel very calm and still. Is my job super stressful right now? Sure. Am I worried about running out of groceries and toilet paper? Maybe a little. But my neighbors have been banding together to help each other so I’m not too scared about that. I have seen some real love and kindness shine through all of this.

So please wash your hands, take a deep breath, and realize it will eventually be okay. I’m not saying it will be perfect, I’m saying we have gotten through much worse and we survived. Maybe this is the time we need to band together, not just as a country, but as human beings in this world, and realize that we need to slow down and take some time to appreciate what we have and stop chasing what we think we need or want.

Please be safe and I love you all so much. Also if you are going stir crazy I recommend coloring, exercise, reading, and anything else you love to do at home.

How are you handling the Corona Crisis?

Sometimes It’s All Too Much

Sometimes I feel like the world is going a little too fast for me. I like being able to Google almost any and everything. I like cell phones and texting, You Tube, Facebook, etc.

But sometimes I miss hanging out with a friend in person. I miss family gatherings where none of that existed and you had to gasp talk to people. Kids could watch TV or read a book. Now sometimes when I go on visits to families even the parents can’t tear themselves away from some sort of electronic device.

There is always so much pinging, dinging, and ringing that I literally hear it in my sleep. I have woken up certain I missed a call only to find it was all in my dreams (nightmares…whatever).

I wish there was a national unplug day. Where all the WiFi and the internet would go down, and we would be forced to interact with one another. Just for 24 hours. I know as far as national security that’s probably not a great idea, but you get my point. People today are so wrapped up in themselves that they forget there are other people around them that are going through things too and could use an actual hug and not just an emoji or GIF of a hug.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. However you feel about the holiday I challenge you to reach out to someone in person and let them know they are loved. Even if it’s a friend, a parent, a grandparent, or your local barista. Because everyone in this world needs to know they matter and that can’t always be accomplished with an emoji.

I’ve Become So Numb

My Pop-Pop passed away on Sunday, December 8th. He was not my bio grandfather but he was the only grandfather I knew on that side of the family. My bio grandfather died when I was two years old. He looks like he was a nice gent. But my Pop-Pop I grew up with was a spitfire. He could make you laugh and ten minutes later make you cry. My grandmother married him when I was 8 years old and I remember him wearing a sombrero and starting a conga line all around the bar they were having the reception at. He always had a joke for you or a sarcastic comment.

He has not been doing well in the last couple of years and has kind of been a cantankerous brat to my grandmother. He made it to 98 so I guess I have to give him a break for that. It’s just weird that he’s gone. The funeral is on Wednesday this week and I don’t really know why I’m not sad. Maybe because he was suffering so much and causing my grandmother so much heartache? I just feel numb. Like okay this is one more thing we have to get through before this year is over.

Add all of that to my job and the crying, screaming, meltdowns galore, and being on call this week as well. I am literally crawling over the finish line of this year. But I am going to finish and so are you. My Pop-Pop has a new glorious body that isn’t aching, breaking, or taking the life out of him so that’s something to celebrate.

Sorry for the randomness here. Tired and just needed to get some thoughts out.

poppop

This is my Pop-Pop and Grandmom at my wedding in 2010. Aren’t they adorable?!