Day 3384 – Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself

This morning, I seemed to roll out of the wrong side of the bed (haha, I think rolling out of bed is the best way to describe getting out of bed when you sleep on the floor). I’m not sure if it’s a combination of weather, weariness from lots of driving (close to 24 hours since Friday), travel (well over 1000 miles), and running around before and after. I had a CRAZY dream during my snoozing, which may have a little to do with it. Now, a morning like this for Jen of maybe five years ago would have kept me in bed a lot longer, caused me to start drinking earlier, and beating myself up all day.

But I am a much different person than I was five years ago. One thing I’ve learned more about over the last few years is me and how I work. Knowing that there will be days where I will want to quit everything, throw out all of my habits and goals, helps me to NOT do so.

I realize that I am not in my normal mind today, so I’m not going to make any major decisions. I won’t decide to stop doing the things I know help me and the things in my world.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned? Is to not be too hard on myself. Knowing all these things helps me to say “Self, I know you’re not totally you today. This is not how we normally are. You will still need to do some things today, but I’m not going to let you feel bad about the fact that you’re a human and humans feel things.”

Being kind to ourselves when we are not ourselves goes a long way to being a healthy human. 🙂

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Day 3383 – Sneak Peek At Our Weekend!

We just got back from a weekend away in Canada and what an amazing time it was! The drive was utterly breathtaking since most of it was through peaking leaves. I’ll blog more in-depth later, but for now, here’s us at Parliament in Canada! It was one of the places I really wanted to see while we were there and I’m so glad we were able to fit it in.

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Day 3382 – Why You Shouldn’t Ask “When Are You Having Kids?” – or – Things I’ve Learned From Not Having Kids – repost

Originally posted 3/30/17

If you’ve read this blog any amount of time, you know Bret and I are not normal in a lot of ways. From sleeping on the floor, to having no real furniture, we are just weirdos. People don’t understand us sometimes, but that’s fine, we’re happy with our life.

Here’s another “not normal” thing to add to the long list of “Jen and Bret are weird” – We aren’t planning on having kids.

It’s something we didn’t expect. Both of us came from big families and figured we’d have a big family too. As we grew in our marriage, God made it clear kids probably weren’t in our future. When we meditate on our life, kids just aren’t in the picture. It is something we have prayed about, thought a lot about, and talked a lot about. Most of the time, when people ask or comment about us having kids, we laugh it off. “Ha ha, oh we’ll see!” It’s a minor thing to us when people bring it up. Something we shrug off like reactions to us sleeping on the floor. Even if we tell them we aren’t planning on having kids, and they follow up with, “Oh you’ll change your mind.” It isn’t a big deal to us.

But then we thought about things in a different light – what if we DID want kids and we couldn’t or were having a hard time getting pregnant? What if we had lost children?

This is when the desire to share this became about others.

We have a lot of people in our world that have struggled to have kids and desperately want kids.

I am writing this for them.

Please take a few minutes to look at someone’s situation from another angle before you ask “When are you having kids?!” Pause and ask yourself if it’s an appropriate question and time to ask. It may have been easy for you and your spouse to get pregnant. You may have several kids. You may not know that the person you’re asking has been trying, desperately, for years to get pregnant. You may not know of the tears, the heartache, the miscarriages.

Think about asking instead “Do you want kids?” or maybe, just maybe, don’t ask about their plans on having kids or not. If you don’t know if they can have kids or not, it’s for a reason. I understand, it’s a natural question. But it’s a really personal one. Trust me, I understand where the questions come from. In our society, there’s a “natural” timeline of steps.

Out of my deep love for those in my life that struggle with this – please stop asking them when they’re going to have kids. Please stop joking that you’re pregnant on April 1st. Please take a minute to think before you speak. And if you still want to ask someone questions like this, go ahead and just ask me.

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Day 3381 – When Did I Know I Was An Alcoholic – repost

Originally posted 8/6/17

I’m working through my second draft of my memoir, and I’m happy to see it taking somewhat of a logical shape.

Yesterday, we had so much fun hanging out with some friends at a beautiful waterfront bar. Chatting with one of my friends, we talked about what was success for my first book, which was that one person’s mindset was changed.

In my current draft of the memoir, I wrote “I don’t want to write this book. Thinking back to these times doesn’t make me happy. Trying to read other memoirs about drinking is hard to do. I want to forget it all happened. I want to leave those memories in the past. Why would I ever want to go back there? Why would I want to share even more about the things I did? I suppose, if just one person is helped. If one person can move past addiction and treat it finally as a sin, it is worth it.

I think I have my goal for this book.

So, when did I know I was an alcoholic?

Probably in the few days after my last drink. Here’s a snapshot from my journal, which is part thinking out loud, part praying, in the days after that last day.

September 29, 2014 (first day sober)
I do enjoy it and I have had some great times, yet I’ve quit so many times. Can I really not control myself or am I trying to prove to myself that I can? Am I holding on to sin? Should I cut it loose? Do I need to cut it out completely? Truly? Forever? Is it standing in my way?

On October 3, 2014
Thank you also for the clear “it’s time” to quit drinking. Thank you for the strength already against temptation. Let it open doors to honest communications about how Christians aren’t perfect.

Almost three years later and I think it’s so true – that it can open lines of communications. People are shocked when they hear about my sobriety – “but you’re a Christian!”
Thinking back to the months following this moment, I remember thinking that there is almost more stigma against people who don’t drink than people who do. Look at all the memes about drinking at the end of the day, or that say “how could I ever quit drinking, I’d be boring!” I was more embarrassed and nervous to say “no thank you” to a drink, then when I was downing bottle after bottle.

I’m so thankful for sober Jen, because she can go to places like we went yesterday, and remember every minute. I really hope we can live near the water some day.

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Day 3380 – Reflections On Getting Arrested In 2006 – repost

Originally posted on 9/16/16

Ten years ago at 1:59 a.m., I had a number of thoughts:
– I was so excited about my new job! It was my first “real” job. A 9-5 where I had to wear business casual and not a uniform.
– I really enjoyed working at Target.
– I should not be driving right now.
– I texted someone and said as much.

Ten years ago at 2:00 a.m., when I was pulled over, I had a number of thoughts:
– I shouldn’t have been driving.
– I shouldn’t have been texting.
– I should be ok, I didn’t have that much to drink.

Ten years ago around 4:00 a.m., after being officially arrested, I had a number of thoughts:
– I can’t believe this is happening.
– I can’t believe I blew a .13.
– I can’t believe I talked to the cop on the way back from the official breathalyzer test about thinking God wanted me to talk to him. How embarrassing.
– I can’t believe the cops at the station said I took a good mug shot.

Today, ten years after being arrest, I have a number of thoughts:
– I can’t believe I didn’t think I had a problem back then. I found a short survey I took for my court mandated substance abuse classes. I scored an 11 out of 24. 9 or more meant probable alcoholism.
– I am SO thankful that God graciously helped me quit drinking cold turkey.
– I am so thankful I was pulled over that day. If I thought I was ok driving that day….I shudder to think what could have happened on the days prior that I knew I wasn’t ok to drive.
– I am thankful for those who stood by me through the last 10 years.
– I never thought I would put this out there publicly! I remember being SO scared about people finding out.
– I am thankful for work that doesn’t require me to check off a box – “have you been arrested” etc.
– I am thankful that I can now be a designated driver and not be mad about it.
– I am most thankful that alcohol doesn’t hold any power over me anymore. I always thought I wanted one of those stories….you know the kind…..drug addict, alcoholic, etc sees the errors of their ways and comes to Jesus and is completely saved from their vices. I always thought, well, my story isn’t that exciting….I grew up in a Christian home, gave my life to Christ very early and have clung to my faith ever since. I now know that is one of THE best testimonies. But, now I have both testimonies. 🙂

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