Faith · Family · Love · Parenting · Perspective

Lost but Looking

I’m struggling today. Lost. Not sure what my big goal is. Floundering. Day after day…


This appears to be the downside of re-reading and studying “The Best Yes.” I’m so unsure of my life goals that I can’t even answer some of the questions. Basic goals, in no particular order, at this point:

  1. Trust God.
  2. Love my family.
  3. Love my husband.
  4. Keep kids alive.
  5. Do my job.

Seriously. That’s it. That’s all I’ve got.

I’m not in danger or live in a war zone. It seems like I should have more plans than this.

No bucket list. No travel the world. No write a book. Ne. Non. Nada. Nothing.

It occurred to me that I’m not even in control of Item #4. I can do my best at this and still not guarantee it. Sounds pretty low, huh… Talk about your biggest fear?! My sister faced this when my nephew fought anaplastic ependymoma aka brain cancer at 18months. He’s now a healthy 10yr old, but honesty time —bad stuff happens and we aren’t in control.

Fear has me reeling this week. I’m questioning how deep is my faith if something like this happens? And dear Lord, please don’t let this happen! If I type these words or utter them out loud, does this make it more likely I will be tested and refined in this way?

As far as God is concerned, I’m already an open book. So, I guess that is reassuring. Typing the words doesn’t make that more real or more likely.

As our previous pastor told me once when I visited with him about my anxiety – “God is God. God is Good. All the Time.” He is my Rock and my Salvation. I don’t have to be enough. Take that off my shoulders! It isn’t my job description.

I’ve spent the last month of quiet early mornings reading Isaiah and then dove right into Jeremiah. While this does encourage some deep soul searching to see if my actions and heart match my words, it might be time to read something a bit more uplifting like Psalms or a book in the New Testament.

As I type, this song came on. “Eye of the Storm” — Thank you. Just when I needed it! Took the words right out of my mouth.

After I get in a run – think endorphins – I might try to make sense of this calendar and sketch out a few plans for life. Until then, I’ll enjoy the people and moments that make me happy.

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Creativity · Faith · Family · Fitness · Health · Parenting · Perspective

The One Word Goal


Self improvement season. We are a couple of days out. Sitting on the cusp of when people will pledge to themselves to eat healthier, exercise, change spending habits or make another life change for the better.

Perhaps it will be to add in more reading or quality time with friends and family?

Reading Rainbow – One of my favorite childhood classics!

Suppose it’s a mental shift to a minimalist lifestyle? Or to go back to school?

Why do we wait until self improvement season to set these goals?  The new year. A fresh start. Flipping the page on the wall calendar.

Marketing people love this time of year. When better to push a new product or equipment on us? There’s no better time to remind us that we have flaws.

It is unlikely that I will be bucking this trend. I set goals as well. Goals are useful when kept in perspective.

  • I know I want to be more efficient and intentional with the end goal of being able to freely flow in my non-work time.
  • My parenting fuse is too short with my 7yr old… I’m a work-in-progress to expand my sense of humor and patience. *sigh* Boys are so LOUD!
  • Running half marathon #4 or dipping my toes in the water with another sprint or longer triathlon. Plans to train will have to wait until after my annual MRI in February. (aka – what is going on with my right hip and leg?)
  • Finish the sort and purge leftovers from doing the remodel last year. Our extras could be someone else’s treasures!
  • Laugh more. Smile more. Play more.

A dear and wise friend texted me yesterday with her one word resolution for 2018. After a particularly hard year of burying family members and friends, she is seeking to again find JOY.

To encapsulate all of one’s goals for a year into one word is a challenge. I started this entry four hours ago.

After much deliberation (drum roll….. da da da da da da da…..) the mindset to ENJOY. Is it all going to be good? Definitely not. I’ll likely have to move my mind around a little bit to make it happen, but L.M. Montgomery says it best:


With best wishes and kind intentions for a healthy and safe start to your new year, much love — Jen

Faith · Fitness · Health · Love · Parenting · Perspective

2 Steps Back and 5 Forward

5F2B2 Steps Back and 5 Forward: An effort to get to know yourself and who you are made to be, deeper than the outward reflection shown in the mirror.

A local women’s group did a short exercise with the ladies who were present. It is a Christian non-denominational group for new, seasoned, young, and older. A lovely mix of women.

*I follow online because although it is God-centered, it still isn’t a Best Yes for my time when I add in the driving to town and back and how it disrupts my family’s schedule.*

The exercise asked the women to say or describe two things about themselves that are negative.

  1. I overshare details and stories… then spend anxiety-ridden time mentally re-hashing all the oversharing moments that just spewed forth from my lips. Ugh. Thank goodness I don’t publish on here every thought I actually say out loud. Awkward!
  2. I get extremely frustrated during transition times with my kids. Daycare pickup is the absolute WORST. I’m overwhelmed. They’re talking and arguing over each other for my attention. We all end up with our feelings hurt when I have to SHUT IT DOWN.

^^^ It honestly didn’t take much to come up with those. ^^^

The exercise then asked the women to say or describe five positives. I’ll take this one step further, in honor of the book I’m currently reading – Walking with Purpose, and say it can’t be about my job or my duties as a mother or wife.

giphy4Ummmm…. Hmmmm… Maybe…. ?

  1. I am compassionate for ALL things. I catch spiders and release them outside. I don’t want anyone to suffer. If it has to be the end for a living creature, I want it to be quick and painless. Hungry? I want to feed you. Confused? Let’s figure this out.
  2. I very rarely rush to judgement. I like to gather my own research before forming an opinion. I have friends from all sides of the political, geographical, and faith spectrum. Discussions, when respectful, are thought-provoking and enlightening, even if I disagree with the other parties.
  3. I am determined. Four years and two babies ago, I decided if I ever wanted to get in shape and feel good mentally, physically, and emotionally, I had to make it happen. No one else could do that for me. It was MY job to exercise; MY job to make devotion time; MY job to figure out where my life was going. Yes, I have a husband, two littles, a job, a pet, family, friends, etc… but what was my path? my goal? Was I just supposed to feed small people and handle advertising from my computer? No.

    I have a bigger purpose. It is one that is constantly evolving and coming into focus as I make another trip around the sun.

  4. Honesty. I told my children that if they ever ask me a question (which they do 3:1 for every statement – truly, I counted), I will ALWAYS tell them the truth. Don’t want to know about Santa? Don’t ask unless you want the truth and history behind Ol’ Saint Nicholas. What happened to Nana & Papa’s old dog? It died because a body gets old and unable to heal. NOT that it went to live on another farm with other old dogs…. Right Mom and Dad?

    I really think honesty is key here. We sugar coat too much to the point where the next generation won’t understand reality.

  5. Love. Love for my family. Love for my friends. Love for people I don’t even know. I am unconditionally loved by God and want to share that love with those around me.

    I separate love from “like” and “enjoy” and “happiness.” Sure, those are comfortable feelings, but in the uncomfortable is where we grow, support, and care for one another. It’s easy to give a high-five or a smile at the end of a game. It isn’t as easy to sit with a bestie after her engagement ends or know what to say when a friend miscarries, but those are the places that love illustrates beauty. Spending time volunteering to give a hand up to the less physically fortunate or going to an elder care facility and touching a frail, lonely hand, that’s love. Parenting with grace (so hard sometimes!) is another form of love.

    We don’t all “do” love the same way, but think of the world if we all “did” real uncomfortable love in SOME way for somebody.

So there it is. My five positives and my two negatives are out there. Time well spent looking a little deeper into myself.

Much love — Jen

Fitness · Health

Thoughts from a Rural Runner

I ran my last long run before doing a half marathon (13.1 miles). I made it 10.5miles this morning. It took me 2:00.27 and that included having to walk for a quarter of a mile or so because my insurance/specialty pharmacy called. After being on hold with them and the drug company’s support team for a total of at least 4 hours of my life the past 2 days, I felt that I had to take the call.

Please keep in mind that I live in VERY rural America. I run dirt roads, gravel roads, and some county highways. For 90% of my run, it is just me and the grasshoppers. Deer, raccoon, skunk, and cattle are occasionally on the side of the road. Most of my paths are traveled more frequently by tractors pulling implements than a car or truck.

Here are my observations after my first 10+ mile run. And they are brutally honest…

1) Bad underwear aren’t just bad the first mile…

2) Shorts are a poor choice if your thighs touch, even just a little bit…

3) Eat like it’s Thanksgiving the day before the race or a long run. Glad I shoved a few Gu gels in my armband…

4) I need a water source every mile, or at least every other mile. A drink a mile 2 and mile 8 is not enough…

and last but not least:

5) You can count on someone else being smack dab in the middle of nowhere with you, pulling over the hill, EXACTLY when you have to stop and rearrange previously mentioned terrible choice of underwear with your hand down the back of your shorts. And thus ends my embarrassment for the day.

All things considered, I’m going to rock this half marathon – in running tights, with water, and more food the night before. 🙂

Happy Friday! Blessings to you on your daily journey.

My route this morning.
Rural Running