A trip of a lifetime

For years we dreamed of a trip to Disney and Universal. At some point we had placed this trip as a trip of a lifetime, a bucket list item. It felt impossible because the money to afford this trip was something unattainable. We had let it rest but as the days neared knowing our oldest was leaving for college and our family dynamic was changing, it was now or never. We began to dream again.

We made a budget and a goal and it had to happen above our monthly budget, so we wrote it out and showed the family. We explained the sacrifice and commitment. We put in hours of Door Dashing, not eating out, trimming the budget, selling things from closets in both a yard sale and flea market…but we were short.

Habakuk 2: 2-3 Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”

I started to make plan “b’s” and praying to the Lord that he would change the desires of our heart and I was so frustrated. I cried out to the Lord to help us and it felt selfish to ask for such a thing as a luxury trip. And then…

We got a phone call from a friend who happened to have a time share in Orlando. “Have you guys booked your hotel yet?” This question made a trip happen.

We entered a magical land and we said yes more to the kids than probably their entire lives. My heart was so full and grateful.  I wish I had more eloquent words but simply grateful says it all. In this photo it was our last day. We feasted as a family of six, and it hit us with tears and laughter. I’m certain the corner of The Leaky Caldron at Universal we sounded obnoxious. (But I don’t care) It was truly a great trip.

We made a second trip to drop Patrick off at TN. Hundreds of miles confined to the family van from Texas to Florida to Texas and to Tennessee and home. We said goodbye to my oldest son and there was total peace.  He was ready, and his happiness and excitement faded my grief and worry. I had nothing but tears full of pride, hope and expectation of his future.  Eighteen years in the making a trip of a lifetime.

 

Teetering focus

I consider myself a realist, the younger, more naive version of myself could find the sunny side of just about any predicament.  And then life, but I am trying to find my way back to the middle where I am content with all situations.

For example, I’ve graduated my oldest son, I don’t need my mini-van anymore. Read that again in the voice of a mom navigating transition.  “I don’t need a mini van anymore!” The end of an era and embarking on new terrain. I have celebrated it and grieved it. I’m teetering so many emotions and I am working hard on embracing the beauty in it all.  I am deeply sad to see my oldest son go off in some ways because there are parts I would do over again if granted that wish. He makes the letting go easier in moments when he refuses to help with dishes, ha! And yet I am elated for him to find adventure in his new freedom…Polarized feelings any given minute.

Ex. 2 When my hosting for the podcast switched about half of my files did not transfer, so I am reloading them. I am reloading them and therefore learning from them again as I re-listen to every episode!

Ex. 3 A small group of C.A.D.I. s want to get together here in Waco, in person!!! Like I love these people I have never met, and yet the only reason for our chance meeting…we share the deepest pain we wish on no one, ever! And yet I anticipate when we can all come together and cry and hug and laugh and encourage and inspire one another.

Ex. 4My older daughter is like a little mama to my younger daughter, this can be both endearing and dangerous.

The other day my older daughter was preparing to leave for camp, she told our younger daughter a set of instructions. I smiled and said, “um hello, she has me lil mama.” And then I remember that my daughter took on some roles for me while I was struggling to just survive. The guilt has tried to tangle me up but I remain working on that focus, that God equipped us all while navigating that season. And praise the Lord grace covers it! Thank God they had each other and their is an unbreakable bond because of it but there is resentment too.

2 Corinthians 12:9 covers both scenarios, “But 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.”

I grieve my life before the accident but I am so grateful for the person I have become and the community I now love.

Can you think of something that has you walk the line of appreciating different perspectives?

We went to the Homestead here in Waco, and I could have spent all day there tucked away, it is so peaceful. Wildflowers scattered everywhere, it was unusually cool in TX for July and it was drizzling rain. There is a barn that was rebuilt from early American settlers with a watermill to power it’s storefront. I just stood and listened letting the trickling sounds sooth my soul. I want to go back and just sit again. Contently. The people who live there choose a simpler life. While visiting the coffee shop there I took this picture of a sunflower patch, the picture doesn’t do it justice and then the camera adjusted to get a shot of the raindrops gathering outside. I loved both pictures equally.

I want to love the me before and the me after equally too. I’ll get there and I hope you do too!

XOXO, Jenn

P.S. to those with little ones and you are tired and would give anything for a night of pre-kid sleep…take time to breathe it all in. Those moments that break you in tears of frustration (i.e. the exploding diaper or marker on the new couch) those memories are precious too, I promise!!

Season 3 Episode 67: A Blessed Tragedy w/ Jesse Schrake

In this episode Jennifer talks with public speaker and safe-driving advocate Jesse Schrake about the aftermath of his accident. He encourages us to make choices that honor God and the healing power of forgiveness and true identity in Christ. To find out more about the co-authored book with Amanda Watts and Jesse Schrake please visit Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Blessed-Tragedy-Amanda-Watts/dp/1700495623, or their social media platforms.

Passion & Purpose with Marci Corry

In this episode Jennifer visits with founder of Safe2Save App, Marci Corry to talk about passion and purpose. She is devoted to seeing change  in safer driving across the country. In a near fatal accident Marci was grateful to be alive and her faith became stronger. To find more about the Safe2Save Mission and how to get involved please visit, https://safe2save.org/

Season III

I looked up the biblical meaning of three and it did not disappoint. It’s the number of harmony, three accord (strength), three is for eternal life and the resurrection on the third day.

The 2nd season of Accidental Hope exceeded all expectations with guests and incredible stories. The goal was to find stories of overcoming, beauty from ashes, purpose from pain…and hopefully make some friends along the way.

My dear friend Audrey Fulton, a tragic accident may have brought us together but God has connected us in so many other levels. She is a mother of four and her strength and faith are rare. The Fulton’s prove vows matter and marriage can handle anything when God is at the center.

I talked with Dr. Maryann Gray, a pioneer of hope for C.A.D.I.s , she shared stages of grief and her journey of accepting. It was such an honor to meet her and now I consider her a friend.

Darin Strauss, author of Half A Life reminded me the power and freedom of sharing your story. I was so nervous and Darin’s down to earth spirit eased those nerves almost instantly.

We heard from a world-wide evangelist with his struggle in faith (Jay Lowder), a sexual assault survivor advocate (Lavinia Masters) , families who started foundations to honor loved ones, two best friends that literally experienced the most heartbreaking loss and God got the glory. I literally could not pick a favorite episode because they each mean the world to me, my only hope is that they connect to someone else who needed to know it will be okay.

We heard from many moms including my own and how motherhood and tragedy come together, there is grace, fortitude, and inspiration.

Season 2 had something for everyone, an artist and entrepreneur, different types of trauma including racial injustice, living organ donation, battling cancer and daily devotions with Tera Elness.

I don’t have a Word for this year, a vision board, or a prominent goal. No hustle, no BS, just one step forward each day learning and growing and seeking deeper connections with people and faith. I don’t have a plan or an outline or expectations of the season to come but my heart is open and I am ready to receive what may come.

There are many lessons to be grateful for from living through a global pandemic. I hope 2020 taught you, you are stronger than you can imagine, we can pivot when least expecting and triumph when facing utter chaos. The world went upside down, but we are still here and I am grateful!

May God bless whoever finds this little blog!

Blessings.

XOXO, Jenn

Motherhood + Trauma = Incredible Strength

We wanted to crawl in a hole and sit in the chaos. We wanted to turn off noise and demands and tasks, but we couldn’t! We wanted to give up, run away and turn back time, but all were impossible. We wanted to protect our children from the pain of this new reality and the pain of watching us crumble. We had to be strong when we didn’t feel it.

This is motherhood.

Hard.

Worth it!

I want to thank the women who were involved in this project, including my own mother! (I love you mom! )

Grab a notebook and a tissue, no matter what trauma you are facing there is wisdom in these stories, may the Holy Spirit soften your heart and minister to us through their stories.

2 Part Series

To go back even for just a moment!!!😭

To go back in time if only for a day…

After picking up Chris and Patrick from their trip to Dominican Republic we stayed a while on the coast. There were some tears and the euphoria of missing one another lasted at least 12 hours before squabbles emerged, and things got real with 1 bathroom and 6 people but it was perfect! We attempted to recreate a photo from 2013, I don’t know who came up with this concept, but they are brilliant. I’ve seen them on Facebook and it always captures my heart,I am hoping to start a “thing” looking at the comparison stings a little, a lot! As they grumbled about hot sand, the do we have to do this and we were way past lunch time I did not react to the complaining or grit through my teeth about how this family beach pic WAS Happening!!! Instead, I smiled and soaked it all up because one day they will thank me! Patrick will turn 16 this fall and so that means I have 2 maybe 3 more summers together if the good Lord allows. Time shows no mercy I am starting to feel what I have heard other moms describe.
I looked at this picture from 2013 and I remembered the chaos, the sweet crazy that I would love to step into even for just a day. I would hold tight each of those smaller bodies that would still fit in my lap. Haven was still nursing, there were no cell phone distractions, it was loud and exhausting but life was simpler. The mom in this pic didn’t completely realize how precious time was, even though I knew not to sweat the small stuff, I did! I was also a chronic yeller. I was uptight and when I look at the small faces from 2013 I think about how I saw them as big, especially Patrick, oh how my heart aches to turn back time. I would have wrestled with them instead telling them to knock it off! I without hesitation would have snagged a few more snuggles in my lap!
We really didn’t or shouldn’t have splurged on a week vacation to Corpus/San Antonio but thankful I don’t listen to that voice either anymore! Wether it was financially responsible can shove it because time has no mercy, 5 years was just a blink, poof half a decade, bigger feet, longer legs, and way more opinions! I am so very blessed with this life, my crazy chaos, they have my heart!!! ❤️
There aren’t many things I am grateful for from my accident but I now realize in a very real way that tomorrow is not promised, be present in the moment, it’s ok to be loud and silly, even reckless occasionally!
So completely grateful, the Lord is so faithful!!

I lost a day, but gained a perspective

The first anniversary I was distracted by a kind soul (fellow CADI) who shared my same accident anniversary. We talked and waited for the time to pass from 8:07 pm to 8:08 pm and I realized I was still breathing.

The second anniversary I felt a little more assured on the reality that time keeps moving on. Or forward, we do’n’t “move on” we just move forward. I was also aware that beating my self up each Oct. 4th was justified.

The Lord truly works in mysterious ways and the humor of his teachings I appreciate more and more! A few weeks ago I shared how I realized that this day was exactly 6 weeks away. Patrick has scheduled his own orthodontist appointment and I almost shut down. There is a realization is that this date is personal to me, I remember the date where as for everyone else including my family it’s just another day.

(Que dramatic photo)

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I sent that to a small group of loving people who support me in both love and truth. I finished up a poem I dedicated to David and went into a spiral of negative thinking of all the things I did not do since this time last year. I went to bed worked up about the next day.

Here is the irony I had convinced myself that Thursday was the 4th and had set myself up for sadness. My brain went to great lengths to trick myself, I even had wrong date on lesson plan slides. 🤦🏼‍♀️🤣

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So essentially I “lost” a day somehow. I just in my mind skipped the 3rd and got ahead of myself!

I was set to teach and suddenly I remembered the ortho appointment thinking I had scheduled during class time with nothing in place. I panicked, looked at the calendar and realized wait, “today is Thursday the 3rd.” So I didn’t sleep well, cried, shamed myself, bathing in self loathing. So then sitting in the car staring at the calendar I started laughing out loud at myself! Laughed till I cried, I didn’t know if I should blame my blonde hair or the PTSD brain. I had a chance to enjoy the rest of the day because it was really the 3rd not the 4th.

My next step was to praise the Lord for the lesson. If I continue to dread this day, I will ultimately lose a day. The day was not lost and neither is today, the 4th. I paused to think of this day and @8pm tonight I may say a prayer for his family. But I get it! I now believe this mishap was a gift from the Lord, he knew what would speak to my heart! ❤️

Last year on this day I made a post that shared my passion for Safe2Save and their commitment to safe driving. I felt a burning inside me to share the same passion, do everything you can to prevent more senseless deaths with distracted driving awareness. I didn’t know how much that passion would cost me with some friendships (but I trust the Lord in that as well). More that what it cost, I gained. The passion moved me to launch Accidental Hope, podcast dedicated to be a resource for people who have had serious accidents or trauma. 28 episodes strong! I am now speaking and serving with the Safe2Save app, as a Safety  Ambassador which fills my cup to overflow on an innocent person who is not prepared to hear the mission and vision of S2S! 🤣 Sorry not sorry! Another celebration is writing my story with the purpose of sharing hope through the unimaginable curve balls life can throw at us. It is written and I celebrate that not any plans other than finishing a goal!

Philippians 1:6 “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to fruition!” 🙌🏻 Amen my assignment is not complete!

I write all this to say, don’t waste the precious days you have with beating yourself up! No one wins and nothing gained a with that mentality. Honor your future not hold onto the past!

God bless you on the journey!

XOXO