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Saturday, June 21, 2014

What moments in your life (good or bad) have changed you forever?

I posted this comment on my Facebook page to see what kind of response I'd get.


Of course I already knew what I was going to write about, but before I start... I want to pay humble homage to those of you who commented on that Facebook post.  Some of the comments I was not surprised about, but others I was in absolute awe of.  They were all fabulous.  You have amazing strength and heart.  All of you.  Thank you.  Really.  I'm honored that you shared yourselves with me.

For those of you who don't follow me on Facebook, have you really given thought to the moment(s) in your life that have changed you forever?

It's something I'm totally hung up on.

There's never just one moment, because the moments change.
Life changes.  I look back through my life, and I see the "me" that I was through different decades. I don't even know her anymore.

What defined me?  What changed me?

I can immediately say for certain, that my husband helped to shape the woman I've become over the past almost 15 years.


My childhood and early adulthood made me the very strong, independent woman that I am.  I was someone who had endured more loss than anyone should have, and someone who wasn't very trusting as a result. I totally expected people to check out on me - one way or another, so I learned to do things for myself and didn't get too attached to anyone. That attitude isn't fabulous when you're trying to have a relationship.  It has a way of blocking you from moving forward.

Eventually I learned trust.
More times than I can count, my husband has said to me,
"Relax - why do you think you need to do everything?"
It's a good reminder that it's OK.  I CAN rely on him.
Breaking down my wall and allowing him to take care of me was not an easy thing.  It was something that I really had to work at to change.
To grow.


Just when I started to believe that people don't check out on you, my brother committed suicide.

...another life changing moment.

That loss tore me down and completely changed me, robbing me of everything I finally began to trust.  It's made me hard in ways that I can't explain.  I'm not over it.  I don't know if I'll ever be completely over it. Most people can't see it, because I hide behind a smile.  Only the people really close to me can see it.  Only the people really close to me have all of me.

I really needed my husband's strength and support to get through my brother's death.


His suicide brought my wall back up and made me more distant and on guard than I had ever been.

I, once again, keep people at arms length.  I no longer give people an opportunity to get close enough to hurt me.  I'll make casual acquaintances, but that's it.  I have a few close friends, whom I know I can trust.  For certain - You hurt me, you screw me?  I'm out. I'll forgive once, maybe twice - depending on the offense, but if given a big enough red flag - you can see the flames shooting out the back of my heels as I run away.  Done, over.  As if you'd never known me.

It may not be the best way to handle things, but it's what works for me.
I get to check out first.

Changed.

I know it's hard to imagine that part of me, here through the web-o-sphere.  Here it's easy.  I can love you all.  I want to take care of you all and make sure you're all happy and lovely and safe. That part, I'm super good at.  Just don't try to take care of me.  I'm good.  I've got this.


I was changed again when my friend Ed died.
This time I felt mortality smack me in the face.  I mean, I was the sick one.  Yeah, I knew he already had one heart attack and yeah, I knew he wasn't the healthiest guy on the planet - but ya know... your friends? They aren't supposed to check out.  Yes, I know - it wasn't his choice.
It was almost as if mortality were saying to me... "Hey listen chick... just because you got over your little health issues doesn't mean you're going to live forever.  Heads up!  Oh, and appreciate what you've got."

For a while, I went on the "life's too short" for whatever the situation happened to be going on at the time. I still feel that way in most situations, but you can't both have your wall up and forgive and forget all the hurts around you.  I took stock of what was important and tried to make things better in some situations - when they weren't better at all. Then I began to think about what's worth fighting for. What's an illusion?  What's real, and what's not?  Is this situation really worth the effort, or should I just chalk it up to illusion?

Living life to its fullest doesn't mean accepting toxic relationships just because you've had them for a long period of time.  It's about being happy about the relationships that you are in.  Realizing what works in your life and what doesn't.

I've changed.  Many times.

For certain, those changes have opened my eyes to things I've chosen to not look at until I had no choice but to see.

Sometimes you need to see.  Like it or not.  Sometimes you need the really awful things to change you, so that you can move toward the really great things ahead.

At times I wish I didn't have to experience certain things that I have. Those moments - but I embrace them for what they are - my past.

A past defining moment that has set me on the path to my future.

So what moments in your life have changed you?

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The "talk" that changes how one person views another...

I am often inspired to blog based on my dirty little pleasure, the Real Housewives TV shows.

Last night, on Real Housewives of NYC, the topic leading to next week's very juicy episode is...

Ta Daaaa:  GOSSIP

In this particular episode of Housewives, a traveling facialist (is that even a word?) was at the home of the prominent Sonja Morgan, doing her thing and talking up a storm about some of the other women.  She went on discussing the things she'd "heard" in her travels about the women and their friends.  Horrific stuff, actually...but whatever.


The point is that even though the women knew that some of the stuff this facialist was spouting was complete and total BS, they gave it pause.  They questioned what they knew, based upon what was told to them, to the point that they went and verified the truth to be double darn sure what they heard was BS.

Crazy??  Maybe, but this is what gossip does.

It's one of the most relationship damaging things there is and it never, ever, ever goes away.

Have you ever been a victim of gossip??

OF COURSE YOU HAVE!  I believe everyone has at one time or another.  Even if you're not aware of it, someone, somewhere has looked at you and whispered to another... "Oh MY gosh, will you LOOK at those shoes he/she's wearing?  Who wears that?  What a BLEEP."
Or you're out to lunch with a co-worker or business contact of the opposite sex & are seen by someone who knows you're married and BAM - you're having an affair.

Welcome to the beginning of gossip.

Just like that.

Happens ALL.THE.TIME.

Imagine there's someone you don't particularly care for, who absolutely DOES NOT like you. Imagine that this person shares their feelings of you to another person, who may not know you at all. Imagine that this person's view of you is now forever colored by what the other person has said about you.

Sucks, doesn't it?

I am NOT, by any stretch of the imagination claiming sainthood.  I'm as guilty as they come at times.  I try my best to zip it and keep it zipped, but from time to time I say something I shouldn't, or wish I hadn't.  I believe we can all say, been there - done that.  It's not always intentional, but that doesn't change the situation.  When what's said is said.



While in some cases, yes - the talker is absolutely intending to put a negative spin on a situation to  change the way you feel about another person, sometimes it's not meant to be mean spirited or intentional.  Sometimes it's just venting.  Sometimes it's just talk.

..The "talk" that changes how one person views another, because how it's received is based on the perspective of the person hearing what is being said.

Think about that.

You could say one simple thing to another about someone else, even if it's just out of your concern of the person you are speaking of and the person receiving the information could take it an entirely different way.  Whether you intend for it to be that way or not.

As I've said repeatedly, I am incredibly naive.
When someone who I think is my friend says something to me about another person, I do give some credence to it.  I do sometimes allow it to color how I think about something.  So much so, that in the past I've acted upon the things which were told to me and allowed other instances to build until it blew up into something ridiculous.  That situation is one that I've come to regret, and something that I have taken as a lesson learned.



It IS incredibly easy to be colored by the things others tell you.  Especially when it comes from someone you trust and the situation being discussed seems like it may be plausible.  Just a little twist of the truth, a few manufactured untruths and you've turned that hard working single mom into a slut who neglects her kids.

It's just that easy.

Who knew a mindless "reality" program could cause such deep thought?

Please take this, all of it, as food for thought.

Gossip is a relationship wrecker!

How sad is it to think that you could have an amazing friendship or relationship with someone, but you stay away based upon something someone else said & the preconceived notion you may have received of that person.  EVEN WHEN YOU ALREADY KNOW WHAT'S REAL.

Think about it...
Because you never know when you will be on the receiving end of the "talk".  You never know who's judging you by what's been told to them.  HOW AWFUL would it be to be talked about and judged forever by the worst thing you've ever done in your life?  Or talked about and judged by a word and / or situational twist to color perception?

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

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Friday, June 13, 2014

For the "Other" Dad In My Life

Over they years that I've published Father's Day posts which I'd written about my dad, my step dad, single dads - other dads.

While my dads are the ones who help to shape who I am, I don't feel I've given enough honor to another special dad in my life.  The one who accepts this woman that my dads shaped...

My husband.

I was a single mom when I met my husband.  I didn't want a "boyfriend" and I flat out told him so. I was completely content to be a single mom.  Just me & my son.  That's how it would be.  If I was going to have a "relationship" it was going to be one I didn't have to give too much attention to. Maybe a far away one, or a see ya in a few weeks kinda thing.  I didn't think I was cut out for this whole marriage thing.  I'd given it a shot and it just didn't work out.  I'd been on my own for too long, maybe.  Too independent.  Too unwilling to depend upon someone else, because someone else always lets me down.  I've got this.  No worries.

Then, there was my husband.  Totally "OK" with just being friends. Totally "OK" with my insistence that he doesn't get to meet my son, because I wasn't interested in having him do any potential "daddy interviews."  I was hard.  I was cold.  I was very protective of my son. Until the day that he showed up at my front door, which my dad answered, toy in hand for my son.  "I don't need to meet him, Jenn isn't ready for me to, but could you give this to him?"

That's my husband.
The guy who not only taught me that it's OK to depend upon someone, but the guy who chose us as a package deal, because he wanted to.  The guy who cracked my tough exterior, when others probably would have given up.  The guy who jokes... "well, she said she didn't want a boyfriend, so she got a husband instead."

Without the love of my husband, I know life would be different.

I know my son would have grown into the man he's become, but I wouldn't have my two beautiful girls - who he thinks the sun rises and sets over.

Without the love of my husband, I wouldn't have been able to grow into the mom I've become. The mom I always wanted to be.  I wouldn't have been able to open my home to other children who need love.  I wouldn't have given birth to our daughter or adopted our littlest.  ("the short one")  I wouldn't have the life I'd always wanted, or the girls who brighten his world.

Seeing his glow around our kids makes every day worth while.

On this Father's Day, I want to honor my husband; an AMAZING father, husband, man.

Thank you, honey.

I love you!

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY TO ALL YOU ROCKIN' DADS OUT THERE!!

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Homewrecker is as homewrecker does...


As usual, this is a difficult blog post for me to write, having edited it several times to (try to) keep my post positive and meaningful, while getting my point across, without sounding judgmental and without having people in similar situations thinking I'm directing it at them....

Whew...  Seems like entirely too much doesn't it??

Today I'm writing this for and inspired by one of my "little friends" growing up.  Of course, even though she's cute and tiny, she's no longer "little."  She's all grown up now with a family of her own.  A family that has been raked across hot coals because of some selfish s.o.b. who didn't stop to think of others.  Didn't stop to think of a family.  Didn't stop to think of children.  Only cared about themselves.  Selfish, selfish, selfish.


I will never claim to have lived a lily white existence.
I've made plenty of mistakes in my life.  I have also had my mistakes thrown up in my face by others who've sinned differently, and I didn't appreciate it.  I try my best to reserve judgment.
Who the hell am I, right? 

Today, I stand on the soap box of someone who wants to protect.

When I was single, I was of the opinion that there are enough single men around - leave the married ones alone.  Especially if that married one has children.  I was fooled once, but it wasn't serious and I got the hell outta dodge once I realized there was a wife.  Marriage is sacred and if there are kids, it's a family.  No one else belongs poking their face in there.  Agree or not, that's how I feel.

I'm not going to pretend that I don't know other people in those situations.  While I don't promote it, I have no business looking down my nose at them - so I don't.

Except now... now there's this beautiful "little friend" of mine 
who is destroyed after many, many years.
DESTROYED.
She had a life.  She had a family.
She thought she had her forever until I die.
Then someone came along, wanted what she had 
and robbed her of her husband, her kids of their father.
Her dream shattered by someone she calls a "home wrecking whore."


In her shoes, do you blame her?
I can't say that I do.  If I found out that my husband disregarded me, disregarded our children, our life - threw it all away - I couldn't be kind either.

Sure, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt for three seconds, because I could have been fooled at one time.  Not all individuals in these situations know the truth, because let's face it - if someone wants to cheat - they will.  They will say and do anything to get the other person to see their way; he/she's psycho, he/she drinks, he/she beats me, he/she does drugs, he/she is having an affair.  Whatever.  Maybe it's true sometimes, but when it's not...there comes a time when the truth surfaces.  What then?

What happened to integrity?

I grew up in a broken home.  I won't tell the secrets of my life growing up.  I will only say that it made an impact on me.  This type of situation DOES make an impact on the kids.  It does make an impact on your reputation and it DOES make an impact on how people view you.

Regardless of what you choose to believe!

Newsflash...Those children, the children of the marriage / family you interrupted will NEVER look at you with love and respect.  No matter what you've chosen to believe.  They may seem to act kindly to you in front of their parent, out of love to that parent, but they will always look at YOU as the person who wrecked their family.  Wrecked their happy existence.  Wrecked THEIR life.  Regardless of what you have chosen to believe.

And that becomes something that's on YOU forever.

So think again.
Did you pick up on the "choose to believe" references??
You can only fool yourself for so long.
 
Moving on is not working it out, it's putting a band aid on your temporary issue.
If it's not fixed, it's only bound to re-surface.
Think about it.

Honor your marriage.  Honor your partner.  Honor your family.  When you say forever, mean it.

The person on the other side of the marriage, you have a choice.  You ALWAYS have a choice.

Remember, Karma....

To my beautiful "little friend"  I wish you strength.  I wish you peace and I send love and hugs to you and your babies.

Go be happy, because happiness is the best revenge.

**  PS.  As an aside I don't, on any level, place all the blame on the "home wrecker" it takes two to tango & the one wearing the ring should be held most accountable.  But...a sin is a sin is a sin.
It's about integrity all the way around, AND it's about the kids.  From an adult "kid" - you don't forget.

Thank you all for reading my blog!

~Jenn


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Friday, June 6, 2014

12 Year Old ... Adults

To say that I am incredibly disturbed by the news story about the two twelve year old girls from Wisconsin who stabbed their friend 19 times would be the understatement of the year.

My heart hurts my on so many levels just thinking about it.

A "bizarre murder plot planned months in advance" the news stories are stating with regard to two 12.YEARS.OLD.GIRLS!

I cannot even wrap my head around it.



How does a parent come to grips with the knowledge that their baby girl not only came up with such a heinous plot, but acted on it?

My own daughter will be 12 in just a few months.
I work to be sure she's happy and try to keep her as innocent as I am able in this world.  I don't completely shield her, but I do my damndest to teach her right from wrong.  I try to teach her to be a good person, to be responsible to herself and to others. To hold herself accountable.

The thought that two LITTLE GIRLS, who should be twirling around in pretty dresses, doing cartwheels in the yard and playing in the school band would instead be plotting murder - OF THEIR FRIEND.  WHY????  To impress a fictional character on the internet?????

I'm sorry.  I don't get that.

I know my world was different growing up, but even with minimal supervision and a f'ed up family life - this would NEVER have been something to cross my mind in my life.  Especially not at 12.  I was always terrified of getting in trouble.

Is that what's missing in this day and age??  Are kids missing that "fear" of being in trouble?  The fear of disappointing their parents or others in authority?  Are they not learning respect for self, respect for others?  Do they somehow feel above it all??

Maybe I don't get it, because I don't see it - not in my kids and not in the kids around me.  Not even in the kids whose parents I don't particularly care for.  They are good kids.  All of them.  If they're plotting murder, which I highly doubt, they're not showing any signs of it.  If, God forbid, something this awful happened in our school - I would be SHOCKED.  I would never in a million years expect it from any of our kids.  Apparently, with these kids, people weren't shocked.  THAT blows my mind even further.  And it's WISCONSIN, not the inner city.  (yes, I know that not everything happens in the inner city.  No barbs please.)

Look at them... they're babies.
I can remember a time when I was younger when I, and a group of my friends did something "really bad."  If my friend Jenn is reading this, she can help me put the pieces together if she cares to....
There were about 10 of us... all I can remember is me, Jenn, Karen, Chrissy, Chazie and Richie.  We cut through Johanna Farms.  We hopped the gate (or went under) and were cutting through.  Chazie and Richie decided to sneak in and grab a case of cartons of chocolate milk for all of us.  Of course, the security guard came out - they all ran, except me.  I stopped.  Then Chazie (my little boyfriend at the time) also stopped because if I was in trouble he was getting in trouble too. (awwww how chivalrous) The others were long gone.  We just said we were cutting through, that's all.  We didn't rat on our friends.  The security guard called our parents.  Not only was I horrified, but I was terrified by the grounding or scolding I'd receive from my dad.

Did you get that???
I was terrified by the scolding I'd receive from my dad!
All I did was trespassed on private property.  I didn't try to murder anyone - and I was terrified of the scolding I'd receive.

Again... I cannot wrap my head around this.

I'm not sure how to think about the justice system trying these girls as adults, at 12, but I'm also not sure that age is really even in a number any more.

What is wrong with a society that children, at the age of 12, have seen and experienced so much in their life that their "age" extends beyond the amount of time they've been on this planet?

As a foster mom, I'm often told... this child is 5... but he/she has seen and experienced things in their life that equate them to a 14 year old.  Think about that.

That is what our society is these days.  A society where two beautiful little girls become cold hard attempted murders.

...And THAT is beyond sad.

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

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Dear FB, WTH? No, REALLY... WTH?

Have you seen it on the news yet??

Facebook is testing a feature within that will randomly turn on the voice portion (click voice portion for article in Forbes) of your phone / computer to "help with your status updates" - ya know like what you're watching on TV or what you're listening to on the radio.

REALLY???

Can you mentally picture the up and coming FB status posts??


Johnny Joe Parker is... on the toilet
Jamie Smith is....  Oooh, we shouldn't see that one either

Even thought I do what I'm supposed to do. I'm where I'm supposed to be and I'm with who I say I'm with.  I'm a little intimidated by that notion.

FB is already a place where innuendos become "fact".  Passive aggressive posts fly by people who can't fight their battles face to face.  Individuals feel targeted by posts that have nothing to do with them, and friendships end because of the assumptions that are derived from things seen on FB.
Can you EVEN imagine what it would be like if there's an accompanying picture, video or sound bite??  One taken at just the right (wrong) moment.  One that will make any assumption become fact because, 'MY GOSH, DON'T LIE!  I SAW THE PICTURE / VIDEO ON FB."

I'm not cool with this.

My husband jokes that he'll never take his phone into the bathroom for fear that he'd accidentally take a picture / post to FB.

I actually turned my phone completely OFF last night & put it in my drawer.

Do you really thing I need FB posting about me??

Jenn is....  drooling on her pillow.


No, I don't think ANYONE needs to see what happens when the lights go out.

What's your take on this??

Really, FB... WTH???

Go get your own life!!

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

**As as disclaimer to this post....  I miss a lot and genuinely haven't viewed every single angle of this FB issue.  I'm not even sort of tekkie and could have this entire story wrong.  This post is to give you this as food for thought...

If you are getting something for "free", then YOU are the product!

Don't ever forget that!


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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

You are not less....

A friend of mine talked with me earlier this week about a discussion she'd had with someone in her life. She explained with upset how during this discussion, the person she was speaking with somehow made her feel as if she was not good enough.

I know, I know - no one can make you anything - but it doesn't always feel that way, does it?

I think this happens to all of us from time to time.  Either we're beating ourselves up, or someone else is beating us up to make us feel as though we are less - not good enough.

Sometimes it's hard to get beyond the expectations of others, isn't it?  You want people to be proud of you, to see your shine.

Sadly, those who want to feel superior will always find a way to try to make you feel less. Especially if your shine is a little brighter than theirs.


How can you find your own happy medium?

I used to struggle with that, and sometimes I still do, even though I've come to know who I am, and what I will and will not accept.

There was a time when I was younger and not in such a great situation.  I was regularly beaten down, verbally, mentally, emotionally - whatever. I'm a pretty tough cookie - but I found myself in a situation where I was made to feel less.

Eventually, I sought out mental help.

**Know this**
I sought out mental help because I was told that 
I was crazy, psychotic, in need of mental help.
...and I believed it.

That mental beat down and insistence that I needed mental help 
was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Those counselling sessions opened my eyes 
and made me see what I'd been missing all along.
It wasn't ME that needed the mental help at all.
It was the other person in the situation.  The person who was mentally beating me down because of their own self esteem issues.  They were working to bring me down so that they could feel better about them self.

It finally made sense.  So much sense that when it came at me again, I recognized it.  I was able to feel in control of myself and address it calmly by saying, "just because you're feeling badly about yourself, don't try to drag me down with you."  This comment was met with a snicker.  He knew.  It was the beginning of the end of that journey for me, and an opening to a new start.


I was able to pick myself back up and go on, knowing that I AM worthy.  I AM good.  I AM special and important.  Sometimes we forget that.  Sometimes we get caught up into a bad situation and we lose ourselves.

Don't ever lose yourself.

It wasn't easy to get back to me.  That situation is long behind me now.  I often question myself as to how a reasonably intelligent, strong willed, strong minded woman got there to begin with.

It's the reason why I will no longer accept another person in my life trying to push me lower to raise them self up.  No thanks.  Not playing, but you have fun with that.  When I see it coming, I cut and run.

If you're reading, and this all sounds all too familiar - remember who you are.  Remember that you are good.  You are worthy and you are most definitely NOT LESS!

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn