March 26, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Growth is one of those funny things that you don’t really notice until **BAM!** it happens and you’re there. You don’t necessarily feel more mature. Or further ahead. Or like you know more than you used to. If you’re like me, you just feel like you’ve encountered a shift in your perspective.
I happen to be madly in love with growth, always have been. It’s only deepened since I became a mother. You see, as a mother, I’ve noticed that I “monitor” my personal growth even less. Not that that’s a good thing. Yet it’s true.
The last big hurrah before baby number two was born was when I had Audrey. I remember thinking that I could die during this experience (child labor), but that it was okay. My new bundle of sunshine was worth it.
The second with Edric was no different. I so strongly desired their life to flourish that my own needs–to be comfortable, to be sleeping, to not be in pain–were far from my mind. And in both instances after the labor, I looked into my own eyes in the mirror and said,
“Yep, I don’t know how, but you’ve grown.”
It’s one of those growth things that you just can’t pin-point really. It just is. You just did. You simply are. And it feels right. Magical personal growth that can’t be taught, explained, or even really grasped by the one experiencing it.
And so as motherhood goes, I continue to embrace whatever my soul and spirit leads me too. More growth in this way or that. More revelation. More truth that jives with who I am. I try to relax into it like a yoga pose, inhaling and exhaling slowly. Focusing on nothing else but the sheer fact that it’s growth.
Photo: Audrey in a dress that has a bit of room for growth.
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March 2, 2012 § Leave a Comment
As many of you know, I was raised in a Christian home. With Christian values and teachings, hopes and dreams. I enjoyed reading the Bible, gaining insight, and having enlightenment on things that I didn’t understand prior to. My parents did the best that they could to explain these things to me in their own brokenness, speaking out of their own issues.
On the other side of the coin, I went to over twenty five churches making up over ten different denominations and had more ideas thrown at me than a Junior Higher in public school. It was confusing, to say the least. It also made me a great thinker and debater, because it allowed me to see many sides. I didn’t just take life as it was, I questioned it. Just like my father taught me to.
After trying my hand at missions–and wanting to argue my perspective rather than simply do my duties–I came home to write an e-book, which I published on Booklocker.com. The book outlined my thoughts and perspectives on Christianity and what I considered “truth” with a capital “T” at the time.
The following post is one of many thoughts that got that book going. It is my take on Westernized Christianity under the Old Law. Even if you’re not into that, it’s an interesting satirical read of the infamous tight-rope walker from August 19, 2007.
The old law is like walking on a tight rope. High above everyone else, the performer entices the on-lookers to take notice. With the raise of the hand and a wave of clapping from the audience, he steps out onto the wire. Dressed in attire that he would never normally wear, people believe he knows what he is doing.
“He looks as though he’s done this before!”
“Oh his blue and silver unitard is stunning!”
They exclaim in their so-called knowlege-and-wisdom of circus acts. As the first step is taken, wires wobbling, fists clenched, the crowd looks on. Fear, more so of the eyes burning below, causes him to go like jelly in the knees. The wire wobbles on the second step more so then on the first, gasps can be heard from afar.
As each small step is taken, he helplessly looks down for salvation. Only to discover there is no net underneath him. Rather a small tank of half-starved alligators lurks below. And all he can think of is how the alligators aren’t kosher. His train-of-thought rants on as wobbely baby-steps ensue,
“If they’re not kosher, and I fall into them and and they eat me or any part of me, does that make it unclean? Will I then be too unholy to serve my Lord?”
The wire shakes. On either side are dark figures dressed in black. Their balance is immortal. They squat, wiggle, squirm, taunt, seduce, and distract on either side. They jeer and yet the crowd pays no attention. Too high above to ask them if they can see his taunters, the tight-rope walker deduces his options.
To move forward from this half-way point would be into a darkness that seems no one else can see. To turn around would be the same demise but cowardly to an unbeknownst viewer. To fall would be to be eaten by an unkosher animal and be sent into eternal damnation. Apart from the Ring Leader, the scales have been weighed. Perhaps the measurements were off. He’s really out of options. And as he stands in the center, he realizes these “road blocks” were there from the beginning. He thinks,
“Perhaps I am like Job, so righteous…Satan himself wanted to distract me! Yes, that must be it. Where are my friends so they can give me counsel? Where is my wife so she can bring me a drink?”
The crowd stares in wonderment, dumbfounded by the lack of courage on his part to take another step. They question whether he has real authority. Whether he really is a tight-rope walker. Or if it was just another ploy for them to stare. His heart begins to burn. then pound incessantly. He cries,
“This will never end!”
And the crowd cries silently with him.
February 17, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Ha! I remember writing this and wishing that I just wasn’t so darn weird. That I just didn’t have so many issues. “No one else is like me,” I thought. And those that are, are extremists. On the contrary, I just had a very different perspective than those around me and I didn’t know it.
In our youth, when we’re raised to believe one way–and that there’s only one way–it can be easy to take what you know and see your differences and make it a negative thing. Being “so weird” made me extremely depressed during college and for a bit thereafter, as you can see from the writing below.
No one sat me down and said, “Jenn, your point of view is simply that and there’s nothing wrong with it.” Oh, well, that was easy. I’m here to tell you: What you think, smell, touch, taste, and feel is totally, utterly, and completely normal regardless of how you were raised and what you were told. As long as it doesn’t involve killing kittens. Unless, of course, you’re Chinese. That being said. You’re not going crazy. And maybe it’s time to write it off.
Write it off. Oh, can it be. Write it off for all to see. It’s impossible. So impossible to be saltless. To not spread what you have inside. To all of those around. To not be broken. To not be tasteless. It’s impossible to write it off.
So why do so many press? Why do so many push? Push you into saltlessness? Injustice, as it were. Perfection gleaming untruth. I can’t write it off. There are things that I cannot deny as my reality. I’m okay with that. There is life and death that I bring to myself that is undeniable, yet penetrates my soul to the deepest of levels.
I feel the torment most days. A lie that I’ve held onto for years. It seeps into my subconscious mind and I hold onto it desperately. I would love magic to occur. In the blink of an eye to feel it diminish. But I can’t. It still waits for me to find a mirror and remind myself of the falsely labeled truth.
I’m afraid of being controlled by a person. An institution. Or this world. I’m afraid of not living in reality or living in someone else’s. I must try (lest it be ‘right or wrong’) to live in my own: were I to pretend it did not exist, I would be telling myself metaphysically I do not exist.
Every so often I try to write off my existence. Write off my experiences. The time when I was pressured to do what I didn’t want to do, sending me down a spiraled path that seemed never ending. There were too many times like that. Too many times that I have denied my feelings. The way I feel like writing it off. Like it didn’t matter. Saltless.
I’m not at a place to make change decisions. Heck, I’m not at a place to take the next step when I’m still at the first. You cannot be a master when you do not know how to fight. I am different. Treat me as such. Treat me as unique. I am your voice. To the nations. Fill me with salt that will change their reality.
Write it off. Don’t write me off. Don’t leave me saltless.
Originally posted: July 13, 2006 in
Photo: Fries without salt. Just aren’t the same. Hehe.
February 15, 2012 § Leave a Comment
A very sweet friend of mine has been feeling overwhelmed with her closet space. More so, she’s been struggling with the amount of clothes that are in her closet space as well as the dressers in her room. According to Megan, “The drawers are difficult to close because they’re so stuffed full.”
We all know the feeling. I know that I go through seasons of more and less clothing possessions. During my pregnancy the first time around, I purchased a few maternity shirts and shirts in larger sizes. I wore them so many times, I got sick of them. This time around with the second, I borrowed clothes from my sister and my friend, Brandi.
What I like about the borrowing is that I get to give them back. So now I’ve pulled out my “normal” shirts and placed my pregnant borrowings in bags to return to their original owners.
But what do you do when you aren’t pregnant and need of clothes to borrow? When your closet is too full and yet you keep changing sizes–and thus, you want to keep everything? Or when you just feel like getting one more flannel or pair of jeans? Let’s look at a few organizing techniques and perspectives to help with the stuffed closet.
5. Make THE List: As silly as it sounds, it’s true. Sit down and write out exactly what you wear on a weekly basis. You can be super specific (my baseball T with red sleeves) or extremely vague (2 pairs of jeans). The point is to see what you wear on paper. You’d be surprised at how little it is.
4. Add the Seasonal: This So Cal girl doesn’t really worry too much about seasons, but hot and cold happen even here. Add to your weekly list what you need when the weather changes.
3. Note What You Need: Is there anything missing from your closet that isn’t on your list? Is anything you have that you wear often in rags? Okay, so then ask yourself: Is there anything that I need right now? “Need” being the keyword. If there’s not, whenever you have the urge to shop bring THE List to mind and remind yourself of what you actually wear and of what’s in your closet. If you really love something try using one of these money-saving techniques:
• Tell yourself you don’t “need” it
• Remind yourself of what else you have that is similar
• Tell yourself you will always find something you’ll like while shopping
• Remind yourself of another item you have at home that you love
• Tell yourself to wait 30 days and then see if you still want it
Or do what I do the majority of the time: Avoid shopping altogether if you think you’ll be tempted to add to the closet.
2. Organize What You Have: If you can’t remember what you have in your closet, you probably have too much. Take what you own with your list in hand and organize it by type of item and season. You can pack away sweaters and jackets or just put them on the side of the closet you use less. If you need or have various sizes for one reason or another, apply THE List to each size. Place the size in a box and label it for later use.
1. Donate the Rest: Okay, you probably knew that was coming. But just in case you missed it, you should be giving away the items that you haven’t worn in the past year. If it’s just been sitting there, you won’t wear it anytime soon. I promise. Some exceptions might include a suit or a formal dress. Yet in all reality, if you didn’t wear that argyle sweater from your aunt last winter, you won’t wear it this one either.
Hope that helps a bit! The closet can be the most daunting place of all, that’s for sure. I love organizing, but clothes can be very sentimental and hard to part with. Even for a hard knock like me. I’ll probably never give away my thread bare Mickey Mouse shirt from my mom or my see-through Ziggy shirt from my Aunt Amy. Everything else is just closet stuff.
July 13, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I’ve been an omnivore all my life. Before my sister and I were in high school, my dad would take the fam on business trips with him. One of my favorite places to go was San Luis Obispo.
We would drive five hours up the coast from our home in North San Diego and find ourselves in a quaint, nostalgic little beach town. My sister, mom, and I would explore the area and have picnics at the beach. We’d eat at the same hole in the wall famous hot dog place. Visit Bubble Gum Alley. And get candy at the best mom and pop candy spot in town.
My favorite event by far though was visiting the country-esque McLintock’s Saloon and Dining House. They served a kids meal-sized steak with tasty sides like fries or mac and cheese. After you were finished with your dinner (you had to finish everything on your plate), you got a bowl of ice cream and a pick from the saddle bags of toys that the server would put on the back of your chair. I looked forward to that dinner more than anything else during the trip. It’s like the Disneyland of steakhouses.
Those smells and memories will forever live in my mind. Lately though, I haven’t been feeling so nostalgic. Over the fourth of July weekend, I purchased organic chicken and steak from Whole Foods. I spent a pretty penny and realized it was one of the first times I’d purchased raw meat at the grocery store in months.
The parties were a huge hit. All three of us had a good ol’ time. On Sunday night I ate about four ounces of chicken and then proceeded to have nightmares all night. Not about chicken, silly, but because my body. My digestive system at the moment is all out of whack. I’ve continuously noticed that it occurs more and more consistently when I eat meat. I’ve got gastritis and other issues, it seems…causing the craziest dreams!
I’m not into saying “I’m this” or “I’m that!” I’m okay with eating vegetarian for right now and eating meat when I’m craving it (once a week or whatever it is) and dealing with the dreams that come like movies on the big screen at night. I think the best technique for me in any case is nothing to an extreme. When I give myself absolutes, I get stressed out. Maybe you can relate with me on this one.
A lot of people like structure and rules for themselves. And I totally get how that would be comfortable. I even have them for myself (e.g. I will not put myself in a compromising situation with another person for the sake of respecting my relationship with Trever), but I try not to write them down or dwell on them. I know there are many things from my past and the fact that I’m a laid-back second born that has caused me to be this way.
In the end, it comes down to you doing what you feel is best for yourself. And not having to push that on other people. At the moment, I’m pushing my agenda of respecting other people’s perspectives. We all do it. I wrote this blog before my good friend Bronya posted “Anyone got any vegetarian recipes? Thinking about trying it for a couple weeks!” on her Facebook. It turned into an all out war with over 30 posts. This can be applied to anything. Dietary habits. Philosophies. Religion. Remember McLintock’s. Remember we all must live truth to the fullest unto ourselves.
Someday I’ll take Audrey to that steakhouse and Pebble Beach, and Bubble Gum Ally. And hopefully she’ll know: You can do whatever is best for you.
May 27, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I’ve read hundreds of books in my lifetime, yet when I see how many I have liked it’s as though I’ve forgotten. Forgotten what I’ve read. Forgotten what I’ve liked. What I’ve loved. And I realize how much of what I have read is from when my perspective was different. When I was younger and the way that I saw things was less complete.
On Wednesday I began reading a book that was recommended by a friendquaintance. I’m always up to read more, to expand my horizons and venture out. As I read from chapter to chapter, I realized how much I was not the books target market.
I grappled all Wednesday night and Thursday with the concept of the book, thinking that perhaps I had missed something. How often do we do this? Read, watch, or listen with the mindset that it is the self that has the issue and not simply that:
The book is not written for you.
A writer writes for a number of reasons; to tell a story, to a express an idea, to speak to a specific audience, and so on. If you cannot relate to the portrayal of the author, it’s at no fault of your own, my own. Not liking something or not “getting” it has much less to do with and so much more to do with the goal of the writer.
All this to say, I know I am not everyone’s cup of tea. It has occurred to me more than once that I am writing to a very specific demographic that either likes my straight-forward, hard-knock soap box talk. Or not. I’m sure I offend people every time I publish a blog. But if I or the writers I read from were to sit around wondering who we were offending, we would never get a thing done. I know I wouldn’t.
I’m glad that you read what I write. I feel a sense of accomplishment when you tell me you’ve gotten something out of my rantings as delusional as they may be. I’m a bit of an intense person, an intense writer. I hope you continue to enjoy.
Book Review of Radical by David Pratt:
On Wednesday I would have told you the book should just be entitled “Retarded”, because the thoughts are in no way radical yet are written as if to those who are so ethnocentric and dumb that they cannot see outside their own nationalism.
As I processed this thought on Thursday–a good sleep always helps–I realized how far off I was from his target demographic. Pratt was writing to the Bible belt, a place in which he grew up and now pastors at a 4,000+ megachurch to people who go on Sunday’s because that’s just what you do. He’s only lived and breathed one perspective: Baptist Christian.
When I went to school in Nashville (Spring 2003), I found the white people there beyond confusing (for the most part). This is who he is writing to–people I could not relate to in the least bit.
I could do a line by line critique of his poor writing style (I’ll just write it off as if he was story telling to those with a lower education), tear down his simple use of Christian cliché’s and parables, and refute his logic in the usage of the word “radical” as a definitionally accurate title. I’ve seen more radical thinking at the grocery store.
Yet for one, it’s not worth my time and for two, I’m not who he was writing to. Perhaps his foretelling subtitle “Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream” will give you a clue. I’ve never even been into the American Dream. All I want is to do music. Be a mom. A wife. A friend. And travel. I’m that simple. Thank you, David Pratt, for reminding me how much I love “the nations”.
April 8, 2011 § 1 Comment
Only four days into 27 and I’m feeling pretty old. Not old in a bad way, just an understanding way. I’ve been seeing things differently lately. One of my favorite feelings. I love a change in perspective. It’s an older me, in a sense. A me that took a lot of thought rearranging to get into.
I remember how much work I had to do to process the fact that I had chosen someone to be with. As soon as Trever and I had this conversation on June 24, 2007, I chose to only be with him:
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
“Um? Singing? Playing music? Traveling? I don’t know. I want to be with someone for sure.”
“You want to be with me.”
“Yeah, I want to be with you.”
Even if in that moment I chose a life with him, it took months to get into the mindset and really grasp what it meant to “do life with someone,” as I like to call it. I kept telling my mom that I wanted to experience life with someone, but when I got there, I still had a lot of old stuff to sift through. Old perceptions. Gender schemas. Marital issues.
As many may know, I was and still am a fairly stubborn, independent, and domineering (among a host of pleasant assets, of course). Getting my brain to think of putting someone first. Following the path of another and not just my own. Having someone be a team with me. All new thoughts. Yet I knew I had to get into it. I knew I had to accept this new thought pattern. Or we’d be in trouble.
I remember the warm, sunny day on September when it happened. I ran out to the curb to greet Trever as he came home from work. I was his. And he was mine. I had put my mind through a sort of mental exercise little by little to build it up and get it in gear for the viewpoint I wanted it to have: Marriage. Monogamy.
Years past and I used my first formula to help me get through and cope with life’s changes. Moving in together. Postponing our wedding. Moving out of the same place. Eloping. Moving back in together. Learning to teach piano and voice lessons. Quitting. The disappointment of not being pregnant. The excitement of being pregnant. The sacrifices and revamping in my head that came along with being a mom.
Phew. That was the next tough one. I had to let go of doing the MBA program I had been accepted into that very same month. Forgo my veg diet, jeans, numerous tops, focus on myself. I had to let go of me in a lot of ways. I had to let go of my own desires to do what I wanted to do and put myself in the mindset of being called Mother. I took my new calling very seriously. I still do. And that revamping helped me tremendously (especially the thought-shift of getting to wear attractive looking bras).
And like becoming a mama, I’ve noticed over the past few months that my older self has noticed that there’s a lot I can’t do. A lot that was a just a pipe dream. I’ve discovered I can’t have my cake and eat it to. That life takes sacrifices in many forms, like that of marriage and parenthood. Most of the time those sacrifices are a good thing. However, they’re always hard. I know myself. And I know if I do the prep work for the sacrifice, it falls into place more easily. If I choose to see the good things along with the more difficult, I can make the change easier on myself. Day four and counting. 27 is going to be a good year.
February 2, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I know it’s simple. I’ve been saying it to myself for the past week or two. I posted it on my FB and Twitter on Monday. My new mantra:
This is life. I’m doing it.
I think often times we get stuck in a rut. We see the world around us. Our reality. From the same perspective over and over and over again. There are days when everything we do just feels like a dream. I know there are those days for me.
A lot of what we go through, the way we view the world and its monotony can be attributed to our lack of desire to grow or see a different perspective. We get comfortable in the way things are so much so that we can’t see that they’re detrimental (or at least not the awesomest) for us.
We’ve talked a lot about getting out of that mindset. Breaking free. And seeing things from a different point of view in the past. Yet here we are. What about when we think we should be growing? Doing this and that? And life, beautiful life is just starring us in the face?
I’ve been a culprit to this indeed. I love love love growth. Change. Goals. Hopes. Dreams. It really gets my motor going. (Wow. That was cheese ball if I ever heard it. It’s true!) I’ve been talking about, encouraging, giving motivational talks and speeches on the above for as long as I can remember. I’ve had a love affair with moving forward. Oh beautiful change. Embrace me one more time.
I could bask in change on a chaise lounge with my sun tan oil on. Sit in and soak in it like a nice bubble bath on a Sunday afternoon. Roll around and splash in it like a fresh puddle after a good rain. You point something out to me about myself? I’ll ponder it. Tinker it. Look at it this way and that. Hold on to it. Process it. Choose it. And/or throw it away. Why? Because I like change. I like the way it feels. The new synapses firing in my brain. The new neuro pathways created. The glory of the “aha!” moment achieved.
I get so caught up in the addiction to change that I can even forget where I’m at in the here and now. Not that I’m missing anything. No. No. No. But that I’m looking for the way to grow and I discount the fact that I’m exactly where I’m at. Period.
This is life. I’m doing it.
This is my new mantra. My new focus. Not to say that I don’t want to grow. Or I’m not open to it. Or blah blah blah. Yadda yadda yadda. However sometimes it’s good to remind yourself that you’re doing it. You can’t change what has happened in the past. You can’t control and manipulate the future. You can be you. You can embrace life where you are in this moment and take whatever it throws at you. Because you know what? You’re good at this. You’ve got this. You can do whatever may come your way. You can choose to grow. Change. Live.
I would love to hear your take on my new mantra. I would love to hear where you’re at in this very moment. I would love to pick a few of your stories and post them as a guest blog. Please email um to me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
January 28, 2011 § 1 Comment
It’s funny when you think you’re waiting for something to start (in your mind) and yet you have no clue what it’s for. I think I’m going to take this moment to have a recap. I know y’all have been reading and hopefully enjoying as well. My thoughts, I know, can be random, absurd, and border line a slap in the face. I do realize that. I do. Is it my intention? Highly unlikely. As I’ve discussed in blogs past, I want you to like me. I do however want you to understand me and allow me to voice my opinion regardless how black sheep it is.
That’s how I’ve always felt. Like a black sheep.
But I’ll tell you what: it’s comfortable as heck. Is heck really that comfortable? Okay. So it’s even more comfortable than that. Than heck. It’s as comfortable as heaven. Heaven as it were in the place that I know it to be. As if it were around me. Surrounding me. In this very moment. I like my heaven. I like my pleasant state. Oops. That was supposed to say “present” state, but I think I’ll leave that.
I noticed the other day (Tuesday actually) that my present state, my heaven, my eternity, is very futuristic and on the move. It’s a part of me that I love and hold to dearly. You can’t keep up with me? Gosh, I can’t even keep up with myself. So you must be doing great. Trever has always said that he loves my ability to adapt and change on a simple whim or comment from him or others.
“Do you have to do it that way?” he’d say.
“No, I guess not,” I’d reply. And then change.
When I do it again (change), he always looks at me in awe,
“How’d you do that?”
“What?…Oh…I changed my perspective.”
“Wow! You amaze me!”
I’m not trying to toot my own horn. Although it’d be fun. Toot toot. I love horns. Especially trumpets. Mmmm. I’m just hoping you’ll get another little glimpse into me, the black sheep. I’m really into seeing your perspective. Seeing life from a different angle. I love traveling. Well, from the bit I’ve done. Six other countries. 25 states. Never Hawaii (hint, hint, Trev)! There’s this smell in other countries. It’s different from the one you’re uses to at home, so it becomes this traveling smell. You miss it after you haven’t travelled. I haven’t stepped onto a plane since March 2007. That seems ages ago. I don’t really miss airline food, but I do miss having an excuse to use my passport. And the smell. The simple different smell of a new place.
That smell reminds me of how different our lives really are. Taking on the view of another in a land far from your own is like transcending to a higher level of consciousness. It’s like being in a dream yet you’re still awake. So they tell us. Where was I going with all this? Oh yes. I used to have these grand ideas about traveling. About changing the world. Writing music. Playing for people. Cruising around in my Airstream trailer with Trev. That me seems so distant. My perspective has changed. I had to do a lot of work on myself while I was pregnant to get into “mommy mode.” It’s hard. If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re lying. Yes, we love our little one’s to death. Moreover though you have to change your mind set. The “me” mindset becomes “them” and “us”. I had to stop planning for myself and tell myself to roll with it. Get over the size of my pants and breath.
In a way, mommyhood is like traveling to a very, very distant land. If you’re not ready to embrace the culture, you get a slap in the face from the diet changes, strange hours, necessary transformation of attire, and appropriateness of locale (the stares just aren’t worth it). People from your home country–ladies who haven’t undergone this little addition to their lives–seem foreign and of a distant memory as the new territory begins to wear on. Goal 1? Check.
Goal 2? As for changing the world, I did. Her name is Audrey Taylor. I put the 40 weeks in and she’s pretty much done the rest. She’s changed me. And her little face changes peoples days for the better more often than I can count. I know that for sure.
As for my other three pre-momhood ambitions (Goals 3, 4, and five), I haven’t given up. I continue to write music (even if the majority of it is in my head) and will never stop having a desire to play for others regardless the number of listening patrons. What can I say? I’m glad we’re in a load of debt over our Airstream. I’m gonna use it someday. Someday.
My perspective is slowing falling into mommy mode. As Audrey grows into toddlerhood, I realize that my days are quickly going by along with her childhood. I so strongly desire to give her the best one ever. I want her to explore and learn, play and enjoy herself. I can always do “my stuff” when I’m 46. It’s not that far away. She’s my main priority. I promise I’ll keep you updated with my other stuff. My music. My traveling. And you know what? She doesn’t think I’m a black sheep. She just thinks I’m Mama.