Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Fear is defined as a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, or pain, whether the threat is real or imagined.

Fear, of the real or the imagined, is a very real experience that can cause a very real response in our physical and mental being. The physical responses to fear can include sweating, increased heart rate and high adrenaline levels as your body is preparing for a ‘fight or flight’ reaction. This is a very primitive and automatic response. It is crucial to our survival that we recognize danger and that our bodies know what to do when the danger presents itself. The emotional response is less primitive and more personal. Some people LOVE being fearful or afraid.  They love it so much that they jump out of planes, ski down mountains at incredible speeds or my personal favorite, strap an air tank on their back and slide into the deep blue sea. Hoping to catch a glimpse of a host of terrifying behemoths. These people love the adrenaline that comes with doing something that is absolutely terrifying to others. They don’t perceive fear that accompanies these adventures as negative. Instead it is perceived as a positive. The ‘WOOOHOOOO, DID YOU SEE WHAT I JUST DID?’ kind of positive.  

The funny thing is depending on what group you fall in, you tend to think the people in the other group are a little bit crazy. (Or a lot crazy depending on what they are jumping out of or on too.)

Fear is ever present in our lives. It is what keeps us alive in some cases and what makes us feel alive in others. Fear is not bad unless you let it have your life. Fear was not, ‘created’ to control us, it was ‘created’ to warn us. Fear is the little voice in your head that says, “Whoa, are you sure about this? This doesn’t seem like the best idea. Maybe you should step back and make sure this is the move you want to make.” Then you stop, look around, assess the situation and make a decision. You either jump full force ready to hear the wind swirl around you as you see the world in a new way. OR you walk away knowing that this was not the right jump. 
picture provided by
But you make a decision, you fight or you take flight, you don’t stand there paralyzed with fear. We have to make a move. An ALL IN, balls to the wall move or a slow steady move to safer ground. Movement is mandatory. A life controlled by fear is a life without motion, it is stagnant and dying.

We have been promised a life free from fear, a life that is not controlled by the things that are meant to guide and protect us.  Yet, so many times we give these things, absolute control and they devour us.

What is your fear? What is holding you back? Is it being vulnerable? Is it being alone? Is it being committed? Is it being broke? Or better yet, being broken? Is it death? Whatever it may be please don’t give the little voice a bullhorn and say, “Here you make the decisions.” 

Fear will take control and it will slowly take away your dreams.

“…God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power (2 Tim 1:7) and he says in Isaiah 41:10 “I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, DO NOT FEAR; I will help you.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Beholden, Gratified, Indebted, Obliged...Thankful

I am Thankful.
I am beholden to the God who gives me breath. 
I am indebted to a Savior that has given me so much. 
I am obliged to give what has been given to me.
I am Thankful.

When you look at the definition of the word Thankful, it is amazingly simple for such an important word. It is defined as appreciation or gratitude. 

Are these the words that define you? THEY SHOULD BE. 

Are these the words that define me? Not always.

What should we be Thankful for? Our cars, our homes, our gadgets (and we all got gadgets)? What are the things that we list each Thanksgiving? Are we listing the things that matter? Do we realize the things that we should be most thankful for are the intangibles?
One of the speakers I was listening to this weekend made this comment; "When I was living in Kenya, I had nothing and I was grateful for everything. When I came to the United States I suddenly had everything and felt I was grateful for nothing." This comment impacted me deeply. In this country, world or better yet this time, people are not thankful, for anything. The more we have, the more we want. The more we have, the less we recognize as important. We move through life at the speed of media looking for the next great thing and this thing doesn't have to be an object. It can be a desire to be the next great love story, the next great business woman, the next great whatever, you fill in your blank. It is the idea that something better is out there, I just have to look really hard to find it. 

The question is, "If you are always looking ahead, do you see what surrounds you?"  

I received the sweetest call from my husband on Friday night. He was in the process of putting our boys to bed and they told him they had to have their prayer before they could go to sleep. I do this simple but all encompassing prayer every night before my boys go to sleep. Sometimes I say it with a sigh, as I long for the words to wrap around their tiny hearts and soak into their souls while reaching the ears of God all at the same time. Other nights I say the prayer out of breathless exhaustion and habit. Either way I was pretty sure that they may enjoy the break from mommy hovering over them whispering in their ear, if they missed it at all.  When this request came from my husband, I had never been so absolutely thankful to get to say this prayer over my children. It was in that moment, when I was hours away, with the world swirling around me, that I realized NOTHING was more important than getting to say those few precious words over my boys each and every night. (And they agreed!) People big and small recognize what is in your heart. Is it thankfulness and gratitude or it is a desire for more?

We have to be thankful for the intangibles in life, these are what matter. The intangibles can not be taken away by the challenges of life, the negativity and ugliness of the world can't touch them. They are what give us strength for tomorrow and hope for today. When you hang your heart on the intangibles then no matter where you are, what situation you are struggling through, your heart will be full and in turn your world will be a cheerful, blissful and BLESSED place.

The world around you will be what you make of it.  If you choose to be critical, thankless, unappreciative, ungrateful or unthankful, these will be the things that define you. 

The choice is yours.

The LORD bless you and keep you; May the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; may the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24

Friday, February 24, 2012

I am Here! I am Here!

I have no idea what I am doing....but I AM HERE!! 
This is what I wanted to shout as I pulled into the Opryland Hotel yesterday. I have been looking forward to this conference for the last month with an emotional mix of being ecstatic and terrified. When I arrived yesterday afternoon the nerves vanished and the excitement took over.  Although I still don't have a clue what I am doing, I am soaking in the excitement and the supportiveness of this community. This wonderful community of bloggers that reach every point in the world, in every possible way, gathered here to support and learn from each other. I have been blogging for 3 whole weeks and everyone that I have met is so excited for me and willing to talk with me about why I should continue to pour my heart out to the world.  It still amazes me that I had no idea this world existed three short weeks ago. 
=) Bliss surrounds me and I am ready to go!
Blissdom is showing me that I am not crazy (well at least not in my blogging) and that my goal of creating a place of openness and support is not only an obtainable goal but it is a necessary one. 

We need each other.

In this world of CONSTANT motion we need to be able to slow down and see each other as we are, not as we portray ourselves. Life is not what you see on Facebook. Real life is a wonderful mix of hard work, fun, messiness, unbelievable beauty and absolute exhaustion.


I have so many great things that I am dying to share with you but I am so overwhelmed that I am not sure were to start. This reminds me of every 'sales school' that I have ever attended. You are SO FIRED UP that you 'think' you could sell water to a drowning man, but when you get home you couldn't sell water to a man dying of thirst. I am convinced this happens because you have so many ideas that nothing stands out.  (I am also exhausted, truckin' back and forth across the Opryland Hotel is more than enough to bring any blogger to her knees and then I threw in a Bar Method Workout on top...OUCH!!!)

Despite this temporary block I will say, "Thank you!" (thank you thank you thank you thank you) to everyone who has been so supportive of me in starting this adventure. This adventure which I have no clue where it is going to take me but I am absolutely certain is going somewhere and I am simply happy to be here


Did I mention that I am now getting stalked by famous people...
Harrison was everywhere I looked....
so I finally gave in and posed with him...
He was very grateful and A huge fan of Milk

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Teeth and Grace

I don't really consider myself a writer so I am very concerned that I have writer's block 5 posts into my blogging adventure. I mean I have been acting like a nut for years and I have story after story that I could share but at the moment I feel like I have been locked in a white walled room (padded perhaps) for 32 of my 33 years.
I think I will just ramble a bit until something sticks......

Crap! I can't even ramble...

Maybe a little history. You have to know where you have been to know where you are going.

I grew up wanting to be a dentist. This, I now know, was completely rational given how much time I spent at the dentist office as a child. I really had a hard time keeping my teeth in my mouth. When I was 4ish I was visiting my Great Grandmother in the hospital and back in those days if you were under the age of 12 you had to stay in the lobby while the adults went and did the visiting. When you are four and bored what do you do? Well, you make a friend, you play, run around and play some more. I think there is a Law of Physics that says something about, "When two four year olds are in motion there is a tendency for those four year olds to collide." (If this isn't a Law of Physics it should be)  She was a little shorter than I was and her forehead was directly in line with my front teeth.  Thank the Lord we were in the hospital.... She needed stitches and I needed two new front teeth. They were able to stitch her up and I found out teeth are not easy to replace.  I became very familiar with the song, "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, my two front teeth...." At the ripe old age of 4, I was a few years away from getting those illusive adult teeth and I wasn't about to go through the next 3-4 years singing that stupid song or having no teeth in pictures, so I got a partial. The world's smallest partial. The dentist said I was his youngest partial patient. (I started distinguishing myself early) This little partial served many great purposes, I looked cute in pictures and I didn't have to sing Christmas songs in July. But to the chagrin of my teachers I found some not so great uses for my partial as well. I flipped my partial to amuse my friends and annoy my teachers, hmm..maybe I should have seen some of my struggles coming... 
I got to keep my partial until my adult teeth came in around the age of 6-7. Now the dentist had told my parents that given the level of trauma that my gums had incurred my adult teeth may come in black or abscessed or not at all. But they came in PERFECT! White, shiny and perfect!

I was incredibly happy, and my parents were incredibly happy that the dental bills should be returning to normal.  And they did... for the next 2 years....
Then I decided to dive into the shallow end of a pool face first and the bottom of that pool was just as nice as that little girl's forehead. Ironically it happened in July and so then I really was singing, 'All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth....' in July, apparently it was just meant to be!
I was praying that they would tell me that the next round of adult teeth should flip forward in a couple of months. The dentist sighed and assured me that that was my one chance at having adult teeth and I had failed miserably. Weeelll crap.... Now what? The short answer was/is a lot of bonding and a lifetime of dental work that rolled to into my purse at the age of 18.
Life is funny like that. Sometimes we mess up the first chance, royally screw up the second chance and then we have the rest of our lives to deal with the mess. Now I realize that my teeth are a some what strange way to convey a message on life but how many people do you know that have knocked out their front teeth TWICE. My parent's probably would have made me wear a mouth piece to walk to the bathroom if they had thought for one second that I would knock my front teeth out twice. But seriously WHO DOES THAT? Me, little ole me.
The great thing about this story is amazing advances in dental work and dental insurance.  But in life the great thing is Grace. We have Grace. We can screw up and know that we have been given Grace and all is not lost. These mishaps can be small and we can feel that a prayer and an apology is all we need to move on with life. But sometimes these mishaps are big...REAL BIG and require us to have large amounts of Faith to believe that Grace is sufficient. Which one do you think we learn more from? I am not suggesting that we all go out and intentionally make a really big mess.  Because, really we don't have to try, do we? Most of those screw ups happen with very little intent and a whole lot of good intention.  But these are the screw ups that we can't seem to let go of, no matter how hard we try. They sneak up in the moments of weakness, stress or exhaustion and remind us that we aren't good enough and we never will be good enough and we should just stop trying.  It is in these moments we truly feel like we just smacked our face on the bottom of a concrete pool mentally and physically. The truth is we are not good enough and we never will be good enough when we are on our own. The reason it feels like we just got our front teeth knocked out is because we have the audacity to think we are in control. This is why it is SO exhausting to try to make it look like with have it under control, we never screw up and we definitely don't lose it, ever...

'All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by HIS GRACE through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ.'
Romans 3:23-24

We all screw up, sometimes it is little, sometimes it is BIG and sometimes it is MONUMENTAL. But it is all covered because no matter what we think in our moments of weakness:

He said to me, "My GRACE is SUFFICIENT for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's Power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

When we screw up or when we are reminded about our past (and we all have a past, but that is a post for another time). Remember, God knows we are weak but it is in our weakness he can show HIS power. We have all messed up and continue to mess up, little, big and monumentally. But when we try to hide it we don't allow God to rest His Power on us and we don't let the Grace that He has given us shine!!


PS. I am glad that God's power is glorified in my infinite weakness BUT I am also thankful that my dentist's abilities are shown in the fact that none of you knew they weren't real! hahaha!!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hello..My Name is Emily.

I know I have given some information about myself in the previous posts but I think tonight I will give you a small glimpse into the 'real' Emily.
Are ya scared? I am....
For those who know me or have lived with me nothing in this post will be new or surprising but for those of you who haven't, welllll, I hope you will at least wave when we pass at the grocery store.

I am Emily Jenkins, mother of two wonderful boys who I love so much it hurts, but they drive me BONKERS. I have zero patience with my children, my husband, my co-workers, the human race in general and perhaps most importantly myself. (If I am not going to cut myself any slack, you can bet I am not going to cut you any either.)  I really try, but when push comes to shove I am completely intolerant of anyone who doesn't jump when I snap. 
On the opposite side of the same coin, don't TELL me to do anything. You can ask me nicely or better yet make it my idea but don't present anything as a 'directive'. I will become indignant immediately and only do  the 'thing' out of spite or in a way that will make you wish you hadn't TOLD me to do it. (The funny thing, or sad thing, is I will rationalize my behavior while condemning yours.) 
I tend to take everything personal while at the same time taking nothing to heart. That makes NO sense I know so let me try to explain. If I hear you talking about someone or if an email goes out to the whole office, I will always assume it is directed at me. However, I will blow it off as, "who cares what you think" and continue on with my business. I guess you could say I always jump to conclusions but tend to land in a bowl of cotton. (This is a very good thing because as much jumping as I am doing a hard landing would kill me!)
I am very protective of those whom I love & trust, protective to a fault. It may take a while for me to warm up to you but once I trust you I will defend you with all my heart. I also get very mean when I think someone I care about is being treated unfairly. I love my family and friends but I have high expectations for them too. If I am going to defend you until my head spins off then I expect you are doing everything in your power to protect yourself. This goes back to I don't cut myself any slack and therefore you aren't getting any slack either. I think this can make me difficult to like at times. For example, my boys. As  parents I feel like Shaun and I have been through quite a bit of struggles (I do plan on elaborating on these struggles at a later date when I have several days and lots of time to write). When we were in the 'valley' of these struggles I was as defensive as a mother Grizzly, but at the same time I was demanding my child to leave no room for reproach. If you were on the opposite side of these many disputes I am sure I was less than pleasant, but it was just as unpleasant on this side as well (I can 100% guarantee you). I don't lower expectations, ever, and I will push until those expectations are met and this is where my kids, husband, parents, family and friends probably have an occasion to dislike me.
I am incredibly passionate about certain things but most people would never know it. I tend to hold my cards very close to my vest and I don't really know why. I think it is because I don't like disappointment and it is easier to hide it if nobody knows there was an expectation there. But again on the flip side of the same coin I tend not realize when things are very important to other people. It isn't because I don't care, I think it has more to do with I don't read emotion well in others. (A side note: I think this actually helps my Career as a Sales Rep because I say things that most people wouldn't. Not because I am brave but simply because I don't catch the signs they are sending me and I am truly shocked when they don't see things my way!)
Last but not least, I SCREAM, a lot (the reference to a Banshee wasn't a stretch)....I don't like it and I feel like a total heel after the dust has settled but I can't seem to control myself when my emotions are swirling. I have read book after book and listened to parenting guides that say remember, "you are the parent, you MUST control yourself..." and then the guinea pig is loose, the cat is trying to eat an escaped crawdad that is hiding under the piano and two little boys are having screaming fits about the crawdad getting eaten and the guinea pig disappearing... I would love to see the 'experts' remain calm during this situation! Being faced with the prospect of a crawdad funeral, while pondering exactly what raw crawdad would do to a cat's stomach and the mess that would come with that and where the HELL did the guinea pig go? Oh! and we won't even get into the nasty crawdad water that was spilled under the 900lb piano that can't be moved without professional help... The shrieks of, "'STOP WHINING! and HELP ME GET THE CAT OFF THE CRAWDAD! and GET THE FREAKING PIG'!" Flowed of my tongue like a water fall in a rain the adult, remain calm...Wellll, maybe next time.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Sky is the Limit...or not..

Wow... This has been an exciting day....
I am not sure I would say it was a good day or a bad day but, 'OH BOY! Was it a day'... Today I recognized that I have limits and that once they are passed I become spiteful, mean, hateful, snotty or generally unpleasant. It could be one of these or a truly unpleasant combination of all of the above. BUT the point is I have limits of what I can handle before I let these unpleasant characteristics emerge. 
The problem is I have no idea what my limits are when it comes to my attitude popping like a scary, little Jack in the Box. This is a big problem because, unlike a Jack in the Box, once the mean Emily appears nobody is laughing or sighing with relief. 

So how do we find our limits?  How do we recognize that on the proverbial 'next crank' my head is going to POP out and bounce around? I know that is not possible to walk around counting annoyances and nuisances to the point that you stop the person that is talking to you and say,"Before you complete this sentence I need to warn you, I am at my limit and anything you say may cause me to cry, flip out, or potentially just take your head off.  Please continue at anytime." Is there not a point that we can recognize I need to step away, I need to vent or I need to find the nearest punching bag and BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF IT or I am going to act in a very unpleasant/unladylike fashion.
Today, at work, I lost my cool during a pretty common experience, a co-worker was trying to bully his way around me. This particular co-worker does this all the everyone. In other words, today's experience wasn't new and I am definitely not special. The only difference was this time I was at my limit and, more importantly, I did not realize it. So after a few innocuous emails I showed my spiteful side and just gave him a dose of his own medicine. (kinda stings a little when you act like a brat and then someone tells you how much they liked your post about Love and it's components..patience, kindness...etc, etc) 
I was in a great mood, I had none of the Exorcist-type symptoms that usually accompany this type of freak out. But I think I could have seen it coming if I had paid attention to the signs. Maybe then I would have been able to prevent my bratty behavior and able to address his bratty behavior without the gnashing of teeth. I am fairly certain, at this point ,any addressing of behavior would be greeted with, "well if I am then so are you..." (AKA...the chance for adult conversation has probably passed....)
A similar situation also occurred at our house tonight. As we were putting the boys to bed I was repeatedly greeted with, "you are SOO mean Mommy." Which I typically greet with a very mature, "Yes, I know. Let's go pray for a new, nice Mommy" and go about the business at hand. Now sometimes I can endure a seemingly never-ending stream of, 'you are SOO mean's & I don't like you's" with little to no trouble of blowing it off and moving on. But there again, the illusive limit or the crank on the Jack in the Box is cranking away, giving zero warning that I am about to blow. (At home when I 'lose it', it is generally alot uglier than when I 'lose it' at work. If I 'lost it' a work the way I 'lose it' at home I am certain the nice men with the butterfly nets would show up.)  Why was I capable of making all the way to the second bedtime (post bedtime one, I need water, I have to pee and the I can't sleeps) did the final, "you are sooo mean" make my eyes well up and my head spin around? I was in the home stretch!!! But twice today I lost it....

Why? Well because I am not perfect....NOT AT ALL. IN ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, am I even close. I struggle with my temper and when the limit is hit it is EXTREMELY difficult to bring myself back to center. I try to reel it in and hold it together but eventually it all spins out of control and the difficult task of cleaning up the mess begins.  We all have these moments where rational thought and behavior are abandoned for an emotional reaction which makes us a little sheepish when the dust has settled. 
My loving husband, in proofreading this post, described it as a little 'schizophrenic' as compared to my last post.  I noticed that I was about to get a little 'emotional'. So I tried to slow the emotional roll, and prevent loss #3 and ask "Why?" Amazingly it made sense! He wasn't attacking the post he was simply saying that they are on the opposite ends of the spectrum.  =) DUH!

Yesterday, I was describing the biblical definition of Love and all the characteristics of it. Today I am talking about what happens when we disregard this Love, The Love that we are called to be examples of.  When we stop striving to be Christ-Like we become human, when we are human we are (or maybe I should say, I am) mean, spiteful and all those less pleasant things that accompany unchecked human nature. 

1 Corinthians 10:13- No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. (we are not special in our weakness or our struggles), God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability (we have the ability to deal with these struggles), but with the temptation he will provide a way of escape... (there is a way to avoid the situation if we are simply not in the frame of mind to endure it).

We are not perfect, we have all stumbled and will continue to do so daily. But the freak-outs, flip-outs and other unpleasantries can be avoided IF we pay attention to one or both of the following signs:

A.) I am reaching a limit 
B.) the fore mentioned limit is a half mile behind me and I am still moving 90mph 

And then we must make the decision to slow down, breath and look for a calm way to deal with the situation or find the nearest EXIT sign.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

L-O-V-E and what it means to me...

In 2012 what does the word Love mean? Is it long term or short term? Is it a moment of lust or endurance of a lifetime? Is it just a word that it is as over used as the term 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' or does it still hold water? The website had this to say about the word Love and it is antonym hate:

"Is there a garden around? Because these words have been watered down to the point of no return. And it’s all because people have been slowly accepting them as reasonable alternatives to describe fondness (or lack thereof). Love and hate both involved descriptions of serious passion or emotion at one time; now they’re just used as slang-fodder for anything to make a poetic statement."

I couldn't agree more!

On this day....Feb 14th, 2012, you know, Valentine's Day, the day-o-love.... I thought I would get back to the basics of what Love is called to be. Having high hopes that keeping it simple will remind all of us how HIGH the standards are set for this over used & undermined word, "Love".

Love is patient and kind; Love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
1 Corinthians 13:4–8a

Now....That is not just any ole standard....That is a high standard. I would say the highest standard.

I have GREAT difficultly with the first one, Patience, and the difficultly only gets worse as the list continues. God you want me to be patient?? What if I have made the same request 10 times, I am supposed to just CALMLY ask again...The little voice in my head says,'How many times have I asked you to just trust Me?"
Ok, well, I can do the Kindness thing because that's just the kind of girl I am, sugar and spice and everything nice. Unless of course you are mean to me then the gloves come off...but that is only fair, Right?  Little Voice, "remember that whole turn the other cheek thing...."

I could go on, and on but let's just say the kind of Love that is being described here is not the kind of love that I hear about daily. This is the kind of Love that takes work and lots of every turn....
This kind of Love is rare in this world because, like I mentioned in my previous post, we would like to believe that we don't have to work to make something successful. It blows my mind how many times I have heard, "I just don't think I should have to work this hard." Why not? Who are we to have it easy? I know that nothing worth having ever comes without work, and if it was easy everyone would have it. It being love, money, happiness, or most importantly and probably most ignored- contentment. The love that is produced in Hollywood is not the kind of Love that we are called to enjoy. The Love that is meant for us is the kind of Love that is incredibly difficult but amazingly rewarding.
In a world that considers everything disposable, including love. I think it is very hard to think about it in terms that are listed in 1 Corinthians; something that bears all things, endures all things, believes all things and most importantly, LOVE NEVER FAILS.

So today I charge you with finding out what L-O-V-E means to you? Are you looking for/living with the 'new' watered down type of love or the 'old' hardworking, never failing type of Love that we can be blessed with if we are willing to work for it?


Smooth Sailing into the next Hurricane

Does it ever seem that as soon as your life gets in order something comes out of left field and completely derails everything?
You know, you are trying to get everyone ready for school/work and your kids WON'T put on their underwear no matter how many times you scream, "get your underwear on!!" Then you finally realize that there are no clean underwear to be found. Great, what now?

As you can see from my previous post this happens to me quite a bit. Some people (AKA 'the peanut gallery') would say this has do with my lack of planning but I don't see it.  I plan on looking in to this theory at some point but I am too busy at the moment to worry about it. Now I know that the majority of the events below couldn't have been avoided and all of these things proved very valuable in the short and long term but I have noticed a theme in my somewhat short stint as an 'adult'. Smooth sailing only lasts so long no matter how hard you try, so you should probably try.

Although I don't think I will ever be accused of being a 'planner', I have began to see how much just a little forethought can drastically reduce the amount of screaming and crying that occurs when Mommy is late for work, dinner or just about anything.  (the above mention screaming/crying is in reference to my screaming/crying, when this starts the males in the house huddle together for protection)  For example, I know that having clothes laid out (mine especially), the car loaded and the coffeepot on auto-brew makes our family's morning MUCH easier but for some reason I have to force myself to complete these actions nightly.


Why when I know something is going to make my life easier, and potentially prevent long term mental scars to those around me, do I even have to think twice? What is the aversion to easy?

I am sure that I could list example after example after example of the many times that the lack of planning, or forethought, has caused pain for me or others. However, I think I will just ponder these many examples internally and move forward with a simple, "it has happened enough for me to know better, so you would think I would know better."

When I worked as a Social Worker my primary role was to help the parents of the children that were being served by the agency where I was employed. I went into this position full of energy and excitement ready to change the world. I found out very quickly the world wasn't interested in changing.  No matter how hard I worked to get a job for a parent or to get a bill paid or a car repaired or whatever need met, the same need was waiting next month. I would get SO frustrated when I was approached repeatedly for a need that with a little 'planning' or 'forethought' could have been handled without my involvement. But month after month it was the same requests over and over. Why, when life could be so much easier, did they not see the BIG picture? Why didn't they understand that if they would take the advise I was giving them and run with it, things would gradually get better?

Some things are SOO much easier in word than in practice. =)

We want life to be easy. As a wife, mother and woman I can honestly say I want life to be easy without having to work at it! I know that work is required to be successful, but I would absolutely love if it wasn't required at EVERY turn.  I would love to wake up each morning to my bright faced boys smiling at me as they say, "Good Morning Mommy, we are so excited about getting this day started that we are already dressed and ready for breakfast...we'll meet you in the kitchen, but take your time we don't want to rush you...."

I know this is a HUGE stretch but you get the gist.

The reason that planning for the morning makes me less of a banshee is because mornings at our house are NEVER going to occur as I described above. They are going to be rushed at best and a total disaster of tears and screams at worst.  The reason that I have to force myself to plan is because I would like to think I don't have to.
How wonderful would it be if we didn't have to plan, think ahead or prepare for the future?
It would be nice but that is not the world we live in, in this world we must be prepared to face the grumpy children of the morning, the disasters of the workplace and piles of dishes and laundry that await when we get home. But with a little planning we may be able to face these things with a calm heart and peace of mind knowing that it is going to get easier, even if it is gradually.

 The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands...
Deut. 28:12


Friday, February 10, 2012

Roller Coasters

Today was a day of conflicting emotions. Okay, I have started my blog, "YAY!"; Oh Lord what if someone reads it... Has anyone read it?? Yes... YAY!! Now what?

I guess the best place to start is the beginning.

I have been with my husband for 12 years, his hideous backpack and amazing smile caught my eye on day one, Freshman year at UTK....4 years later we had our first date. Maybe it was the ugly backpack comments that caused the delay, Hmm...who knows? At some point I had told Shaun if I could get engaged anywhere it would be somewhere in the Florida Keys, any Key would do, I wasn't picky.... On the evening of August 15th 2001, he proposed on the beach in Key West. I decided he was a good listener and said, "Yes!"

We will be married 10 years in June.

The first year was a roller coaster of new, exciting beginnings, painful losses and A LOT of U-hauls. Two weeks after we got married we packed up everything and moved 14 hours away from everything and everyone we knew.

Chi-town here we come!! 

I would say this was hard but, for a couple of kids it was just an adventure. It wasn't planned but it ended up being, quite possibly, one of the best moves newlyweds could have made. When you are broke and a days drive from everyone you could or would run to, you figure out REALLY quickly how to work through petty arguments and how to deal with the big ones before they get TOO big. Although our stay up north was short, it is and always will be a very treasured time in my heart.

As with all roller coasters, what goes up must come down.

On the morning of August 15th, 2001, the day that he proposed, Shaun had found out his Dad had been diagnosed with Lung Cancer. I would find out many years later (roughly 10, you do the math.) that he almost didn't propose that night on the beach.

Mack was battling the cancer when we left for our great adventure.

Mack Jenkins was a wonderful man.  He lit up a room with his humor and friendliness. His wittiness would double you over with laughter and he would ALWAYS make you smile, no matter what the situation...'cue the deer'.

In early-September we made the decision to move back to Tennessee so we could spend a few more months with Mack. We got one....

Mack passed away on Oct 30th, 2002.

We were lost. Shaun was trying to deal with losing his best friend, his greatest role-model, his Dad. I was trying to figure how to help him. We were both lost....incredibly lost.
How can a 23 year old, new wife help her husband deal with emotions that she didn't understand, and truth be told 10 years later I still have trouble understanding/explaining?
We struggled, we tried to make the best out of the situation. You know the situation, married 5 months with 2 major moves and one heart wrenching loss under our belt. We bought a condo and tried to make the best of our new jobs, which with both hated, and tried to deal with all the emotions. Sounds like enough right?!?!

I thought so...God didn't.

We signed the paperwork on our new/first condo on Dec 31st. Shaun was fired on Jan. 5th....NOW WHAT?

It turned out he was fired for talking to another company about a new and better job...which he didn't get...

Now we were dealing with a new marriage, two major moves, a devastating loss, one minor move, a mortgage & unemployment....and we were only 7 months into this new life.  This breathtaking, eye opening, somewhat nauseating new life.

It's funny, that is how the most amazing roller coasters start; a slow pull up to an amazing view right before the bottom drops out and all hell breaks lose. We scream, we close our eyes and pray that it is almost over, then we start to relax, a little, trusting that the safety equipment will work, but we don't let go.
We get off the roller coaster and think, 'That wasn't that bad' and get back in line to ride again. But this time  we know the safety equipment will work and we let go, A LITTLE, and smile, A LITTLE. We still close our eyes, but kind of enjoy the ride. The next time we get in line we are excited knowing that we will survive. This time we really let go we scream at the top of our lungs, not out of fear but of pure joy, we laugh the kind of laugh that makes you realize you have abs (and in my case they are weak). Then we let go....FULLY....arms out stretched, knowing that we will be okay and with each peak and valley we are stronger and more confident and we can FINALLY have utter confidence that no matter what comes next.....

I am going to be okay.

And to Charlotte we went!

The last part of the first year got better, it smoothed out. If only briefly. We managed to find an apartment, stay put and try to process the previous months. I don't think that Shaun and I experienced anything that made us special but we did grow up fast, learn to trust each other and acknowledge life isn't easy and it owes us nothing.

Somethings never change, life is complicated. But in those painful, gut wrenching experiences you find  yourself, your friends and, most importantly, you find what gives you your strength.

Now Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
 Hebrews 11:1 


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Here Goes Something!

This blogging journey began just a few weeks ago with a God-Placed, completely undeniable longing in my heart to support my friends who were struggling with various and sundry life challenges.  I tried several times to ignore this conviction because what in the world am I going to blog about and why would anyone want to read it?!?!  However, every time I turned away a new neon sign popped up saying, 'HEY! YOU! PAY ATTENTION!!!'  So I finally said, Okay, God I will do this, through you because through you I can all things....

My mission or desire for this blog is simple, create a community that is a comfortable place for women to be uplifting, honest and supportive of each other. 
We all struggle with complications to 'self-inflicted ideals' about what life should look like and then we try to struggle through these complications with out damaging our outward appearances. (What would 'they' think if 'they' knew the truth?) This desire to maintain appearances tends to isolate us from the Grace that is waiting for us and leaving us feeling lost and alone. But in no situation should we feel alone...there are just TOO much Grace and way TOO many of us for that kind of craziness!   

SO, I am really...REALLY excited to start this process and I BEG you to be patient with me as I struggle through this conviction knowing full well I am not qualified, but I am willing.