Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of people the last three days. There are people in this world who do not believe that people can change or grow. We have sayings and phrases in the common lexicon that imply this but you know what…it’s not true.

Throughout our life we change, we grow, we become better, or worse…but we change. To say that we don’t grow and change would mean that I was still the loose cannon of my early twenties. I was still the idiot who in order to hide her insecurities had to act like she knew everything. It would be to say that I was still the ‘Little Bitch’ my mom dubbed me in one of my shittier moments. A moment that started a rapid translation and deep look at who I was and who I wanted to be.

I am not that person anymore. Vestiges of her still exist, but I am NOT her. Who I was at 15 is different than who was at 25 and who I was at 35. This goes for all people.

We need to allow ourselves and others to change and to grow. To become who we are trying to be. Growth is hard and usually comes with many mistakes. It comes with hurts for ourselves and the ones we love.

Don’t assume that a person past actions are all there is to them, don’t assume that as a person is struggling to change it is futile. Love them and support them, see what can happen when the caterpillar becomes a butterfly.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

To whom it may concern,

Over the last 36 hours I have watched as friends became enemies.  I have watched as people became villains.  I have watched as strangers attacked the character of a person they knew nothing about, all on the words of another.  I have watched as a group of people with mental illness have worked their hardest to drive another over the edge, to destroy other people with the same illness.  I have found myself in tears…wishing for a way to end the pain, the anger, and the hurt for ALL involved.  I have found my friends sobbing and aching from pain caused by words.  I have myself collapsed in tears at the words of a ‘friend’.

Why?!?!  Why do we do this?  Why as a people do we strive to hurt?  I know sometimes it is unintentional, sometimes we just loose our way in the darkness, sometimes things go to far.  Why do we not apologize?  Why are the apologies unaccepted?  Why is it so much easier to hurt than to forgive?  Why do we hold onto grudges, why do we seek annihilation instead of reconciliation or for that matter nothing instead, why not just strive to find the strength within us to move on?  Why is it so hard to let go, to move on?  Wouldn’t it be better; more healing to just move on?  Why are we, as a people so very prone to evil?  To nastiness?  To hatred instead of love and kindness?

I admit I made mistakes, I carried things to far, and I apologized, I tried to move on.  I get forgiveness is hard, but why do you need to destroy?  Why do you need to take everything and everyone down with you?  Why do you have to break others?  Why?

There are times, there are days that I really hate this world we live in.  I hate that so many people are so broken and feel that they need to break others to be better.  Why are we as a people like this?

My heart hurts.  My very soul hurts for everyone who I have interacted with for the past few days.  I wish I could fix it all.  I wish I could repair the damage done not only now but the damage done in the past, the damage that caused the need to break others.  I wish I could fix it, and I can’t, and I’m oh so very sorry.  Really and truly.

The people of our world are so unbelievably broken, so wounded.  Until we figure out how to stop causing more harm, to heal ourselves, it will never get better only worse for us and for all to come.

Read Full Post »

There are truly evil people in this world. People who will do all they can to destroy others. People who will take all your mistakes, all your perceived evils and use them against you. People who will save up there anger to use at the most and in the most painful and vindictive way they can. When you find that these people are in your life remove them! Rip them out at the root and do not let them back in. Realize that what they do and what they say has more to do with them and their true nature than with you. Realize that they are the ones who are broken not you. Realize that your true friends, the ones who deserve a place in your life will look at the trash they are spewing and say no! They will look at the crap and ask about it, and talk to you before deciding and they will love you anyway. Realizing that mistakes are a part of life and that just because you made some, and someone held onto them to break you does not mean those mistakes are who you are. Realize that that evil person was never your friend and that the real ones, the ones that matter are still there loving you, and supporting you. In these moments cut out the toxic people and hold the others even closer. Remember how far you have come, how strong you are, and how important and loved you are by so many.

Read Full Post »

Good People

You ever marvel at humanity and human beings? I think there are more good, caring, and kind humans than the opposite but the opposite gets our focus and our attention.

Today is All Saints Sunday, a day to remember those we’ve lost, the names of the people in the church community who’ve died in the past year are read. My dad’s name was still in the list. I was silently sad remembering him and others we’d lost, but I was ok, until his name was read. I ran from the church as the loud sobs began. I was checked on by a member of the church. Another, a friend, came into the room and saw me, hugged and comforted me.

The next person to encounter me sitting on the floor, now silently, crying didn’t see the sorrow or the tears. She didn’t see my glasses on the floor she just saw me someone who could watch her granddaughter who was begin to struggle within the service. Of course it was at a time in the service where the nursery isn’t manned but hey. I stood up and told her she was welcome to hang with her but I could not take her. She still didn’t see the tears, the cracking voice. I repeated myself, smiled a teary smile at the little one and left.

I went and calmed myself, marveling at the lack of caring and compassion for a fellow human. I wondered what was wrong with the world. I then returned to the church to get my stuff. Was pulled into a comforting hug and kind words by yet another amazing friend and then in true Jenn fashion went to my office at the church to work, organize, basically focus on something else.

After a bit I returned to the church needing to relay info to someone. Our Deacon stopped me on the way to check in with me. As I approached my Priest, wanting to talk to him about a Children’s Ministries thing he saw me coming and said he wanted to talk with me. He wanted to check on me having seen my rush out of the service and knowing why he was concerned.

As I drove home I thought about all of this. I thought about the uncaring person for a bit but really considered the reality. One person was self focused and oblivious, 5 including one who doesn’t really know me, showed compassion and kindness.

My point in all this rambling? Focus on the five not the one. Focus on all the kind caring, compassionate, empathetic people in the world not the one whose wrapped up in something else. They are probably caring as well but in the moment they’ve got other things happening and that is where their focus is…it doesn’t mean they’re ‘bad’.

Read Full Post »

BAW_lockup_colorIt’s almost vestibular awareness week.  I share these dates, I share the VeDA site this time every year, but I never really explain why or what it is.  To a certain extent I am afraid to do, to have people understand some of what I deal with…what my chronic illness is like because it can seem scary if you don’t understand, if you don’t know how careful and how aware I am of my body and what is happening at all times.

So, what is Vestibular?  Do you know?  Until 8 years ago I didn’t know that word.  By the way it is the balance functions of the inner ear.  Did you know that your inner ear is responsible for balance, had you ever thought about the fact that there is a part of the body that works for this?  I didn’t not really.  I knew that my grandma Helen had a balance disorder and that as a kid I thought she was kinda boring and I hated that she couldn’t do so many things, but I didn’t get it and I certainly never thought about it. I often wish I could go back in time and tell that little girl to be kind, to ask questions, to appreciate all that Grandma did considering that battle she was fighting.  No one really thinks about the idea of balance and the body until it affects them.  This is where my story begins and the reason why I share VEDA every year.  Oh, yes VeDA is the Vestibular Disorders Association.  There are lots of vestibular conditions, most are little known and even less understood, and I have one.

Here is my Story:

My story began in mid June of 2010.  I woke up as normal one day and discovered that my left ear was stuffy and my balance was off.  My only real thought being ‘great another ear infection’.  I guess in some ways my story began before that June day, all my life I’d dealt with ear infections and in my late teens I’d had some dizzy issues that had been attributed to sinus congestion and ear infections.  I dealt with the fullness in my ears and the slight balance issues for a few days before going to the Dr and sure enough I had an infection.  A few days later the dizzies were worse they had escalated to full on tilt-a-whirl moments and I couldn’t hear anything in my left ear.  When I went back the Dr, my concern being the dizzy, they referred me to an ENT they weren’t worried about the dizzy but the hearing loss.

A week later I had my first hearing test since I was a child and was told that I had a profound, at the time 80% loss, in my left ear.  At that appointment my new Dr. told me that she thought I had a tumor pressing on my auditory nerve.  Que utter terror!!!, also I wanted to know when the world would stop spinning, they were not concerned.  I was told it would fix itself but would likely be a few weeks.  A week later I had my first Head MRI…lots of fun for claustrophobe and someone who now got dizzy when laying in any position other than on her right side with her head tucked in.  I few days later the doc called and told me the MRI showed nothing but now she wanted to do a Head CT to check some bone.  Scheduled that…guess what…NOTHING!!!  At this point is had been months, I had had all these tests including having my hearing checked again and it only got worse.  I was missing at least one day a week of work due to the dizziness.  I’d even had to be practically carried from my room as it turned into a tea-cup ride one afternoon.

Finally, I had another face to face meeting with the Dr.  The conversations at home had been about Grandma Helen.  See she had Meniere’s Disease, she had a vestibular condition, and what I was experiencing was her life.

In Late August/Early September I finally got the Dr. to take the Dizzy part of all this serious.  Yes, loss of hearing bad, but ya know what loss of balance bad too and it was not getting better, it was getting worse.  In late September I had what I refer to as the ‘spin around and make you puke test’.  No actual physical spinning involved, just lots of tricking your body into feeling like it’s spinning.  At the end of the test I had a diagnosis, I had a Meniere’s.  There is no cure, there are sort of treatments, and at 29 years old I was young for the onset of the condition.  I will add that I was lucky most people wait years for a diagnosis of Meniere’s.  It is generally a diagnosis of elimination in which you spend years doing one test after another to eliminate causes and more common conditions, because of my familial history I had people who were knowledgeable and who pushed to find out if this was it, there is also believed to be a genetic component.

At 29 years old I was positive that my life was over.  My dreams where done.  I was a preschool teacher who couldn’t spin, couldn’t bend over, couldn’t guarantee that the word wasn’t going to become a merry-go-round at any moment.  I tried, I struggled, and I fought for normalcy.  For a little over a year I continued what I was doing before realizing it wasn’t working anymore.  I was terrified, I was miserable, my co-workers were rightly frustrated, I was seriously depressed, and angry at the world.  Putting on a happy face for families and for my amazing kiddos was wearing and that exhaustion just made things worse.

I left a job that I loved and tried to figure out what my new normal was, what my new dream was, what I was going to do with my life now that I fully believed I couldn’t do what I loved.

I spent many years after my diagnosis, and really the onset of symptoms, terrified.  Living in a world where your body can betray you at any moment is scary.  There is a reason so many with Vestibular conditions have PTSD.  Eventually you figure it out though, for me it took about 3 years of despair and giving up before I figured out that I wasn’t willing to give up my dreams and I was going to figure this life with Meniere’s out.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

It has been just over 8 years since the onset of my Meniere’s.   And it has been 5 years since I decided I wasn’t going to give up on what I loved, working with kids.  I returned to teaching 3 years ago and I teach without fear most days.  I know what my triggers are, I know how to deal when things get off balance, and I have less of those whirligig moments.

I still have moments when I reach out for the wall.  I am careful about getting over tired.  I occasionally have those ‘drunk’ moments.  I have lost 90% of the hearing in my left ear.

BUT, I am blest!  I watch the people in my support groups who are still where I was…even years later, I worry about when those bad bad days will return but I try, so very hard to not let them rule my life.  I don’t physically spin about anymore, and I think about how I move but my life is MINE and I get to do what I love!  I fought and continue to fight for my dreams…I pray that I will never lose them.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Consider helping VeDa by donating here.

LEarn more about VeDA and vestibular conditions at their website vestibular.org

 

Read Full Post »

Below is the Sermon I preached on Sunday February 11th at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Kirkland, Wa.  This was the first time I’ve ever done this and it was an amazing experience.

My Sermon is based on the following Gospel reading from this mornings lectionary.

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one[a]on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings,[b] one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved;[c] listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.

As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

Mark 9:2-9 New Revised Standard Version

_________________________________________________________________________________________

There were two things that stood out to me as I read through this mornings gospel.  Firstly, the idea that Peter, James, and John were TERRIFIED by the transfiguration of Jesus and secondly the words from on high saying ‘This is my son, the beloved, LISTEN TO HIM!’

As I read through the scripture this week, did my subsequent research, and pondered it’s meaning there was one thought that kept coming back to me … the idea of stepping out of our comfort zones.

Peter would have been most content to stay there on that mountain top with Jesus and his friends.  To build dwellings for Christ, Moses, and Elijah and stay put.  He would have loved to not have to come down from the mountain and do the DIFFICULT work that was to come next.   As much as he was frightened in that moment I believe he was more afraid of what was to come.  It was more comfortable there, doing what they had been doing, all this time with Jesus.

Comfort zones are great!  We like them, I love them.  We know what to expect and how to behave but nothing changes, nothing grows, nothing gets better.  Instead it often gets stagnant and stale.

Obviously, I will be the first to admit that the comfort zone is nice, but I also realize that I would not be the person I am today if I wasn’t shoved out of it, usually kicking and screaming, more than once in my life.

When I went to Covenant Players, when I take on new challenges, and leadership roles in every environment of my life, every time I’ve had to get up in front of a group of people to speak  – It’s been uncomfortable, but it’s also been this amazing time of growth, stretching me, as a person, as well as my faith.  This need to stretch, and grow is not just for people individually but communities as well, one’s personal growth can also help grow the communities around them and vise-versa.

Thinking back to three years ago, when I decided to go back to teaching, I promptly messaged my old boss to come in a talk with her.  I had planned to go back to what I knew, what was comfortable no stretching, no growth, no discomfort required.  I think about what I would have missed out on had I not listened to God as he pointed me in another direction.  I would not be at the amazing school I am, with a staff that supports and challenges me and each other every day.  I would not have met a little boy who desperately needed someone in his life to love him unconditionally and guide him, or at least would not have been able to steer his family towards our school and the environment he desperately needed; an environment I needed.   It was challenging, it still is, and it was hard, and it was hugely uncomfortable, but it was what was needed and what I was told to do.

Here I come to the second part of the scripture that stands out ‘LISTEN TO HIM’.  ‘This is my son, the beloved. Listen to him’. I get that this is hard.  I am a 2 x 4 to the head kinda person when it comes to hearing, and following what Jesus is telling me to do.  The idea, the instructions, will come and I will have to watch as everything slowly falls apart on my way in the opposite direction before the 2 x 4 hits me smack across the head and I go ‘OH, that’s what I am supposed to do’ or ‘Ok, I’ll listen’.  Usually the latter, as like Jonah I am usually running away.  I’m working hard to listen before the 2 x 4 or giant fish moments.

As I contemplated all this I kept thinking about St. John’s and all the change we’ve been through over the past few years and all the change that is coming.  Over the past few months we’ve had staff changes, we’ve had program changes, and so many other changes all of this takes us out of the comfort zone.  We are being lead into the new and the unknown which can be amazing but terrifying.

I think that we are being pushed out of our comfort zones to grow, and change, and be something new as a community of faith.  As we stretch to meet the changing needs of the community around us we have to do things in a new way, which can be exciting but new is often uncomfortable.

We are heading into a huge time of change as we look for a new rector.  This is a time of uncertainty.  This is a time to ‘Listen to Him’ and to do all that we can to hear what God is telling us.

As we head into Lent, a time of change, I challenge us to keep this scripture in mind.  Lent is a time of heading from comfort into uncertainty for the disciples and for us. I would challenge us all to look to what we are being called to do.  To ‘Listen to Him’ and step out of our comfort zones, where we will be stretched, and we will find growth.

Read Full Post »

Grief isn’t logical. Yesterday was three months since my dad passed, yesterday was also Good Friday. My uncle died, 5? years ago, on Good Friday. Jesus died on Good Friday and came back to life. I’ve been teaching my class about this great miracle all week, repeating the words Jesus loved us so much that he died for us but then God brought him back. He spent time with his friends and then went to heaven.


There’s this voice in the back of my head that says it’s not fair. Why can’t my Dad come back so I can hug him one more time, tell him I love him one more time. Why can’t my uncle come back so we can say all the things that we’re left unsaid.

As I said grief is illogical. I know these thoughts are silly and don’t make sense. I know that comparing the situations is dumb but your brain does it’s thing in and in my grief I just want that moment more with the people I love and miss so much.

I thought I understood grief after loosing all my grandparents, even after loosing my uncle with unfinished business but I knew nothing. My dad and I have nothing left unfinished except that he’s my dad and I wasn’t and am not ready for him to leave me yet. There are things he supposed to be here for, little moments like silly conversations and big moments, life moments.

Grief is illogical and it sucks!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »