Confessions of a Crazy Mom…

Random thoughts, opinions, and observations from a slightly insane stay-at-home mom

Do I Really Need Church?

Posted by Jenny on September 10, 2011

I haven’t been to church in months. I didn’t decided to leave Catholicism, it’s more that I needed to take a break and really think about whether or not it was the right place for me. I’ve always believed that even if you feel like you aren’t getting anything out of it, it’s never a bad thing to go to Mass, because you never know what little snippet of wisdom you might hear or what blessing you might gain just from being in the presence of a group of believers. But lately, I’ve felt frustrated with the Church, really with religion in general, and needed to step back.

For some people, it’s easy to accept that the Church isn’t perfect and to ignore the teachings and rules that they don’t like and still call themselves Catholic, but for me it’s not that simple. I was feeling very conflicted about saying I was Catholic if I wasn’t on board with some of the key teachings of the Church. I have issues with some very specific things and some very general things, but to list them here would seem petty, I think. It’s really more that I just see everything different these days, and I wasn’t feeling like my vision and the vision of Catholicism were in sync anymore. To me Church was feeling more like a mandate of what you had to do, say and believe if you wanted to get to heaven than it was about anything spiritual. I found that I wasn’t proud to say I was Catholic anymore. Why would I want to claim membership in this group that in my mind doesn’t welcome everyone to the table? I no longer wanted to take part in the Eucharist if a woman who was divorced and remarried wasn’t allowed or if a gay man who was simply living his truth wasn’t allowed? What about the patriarchal culture and what I perceived to be discrimination against woman? Believe me when I say, that I have read and heard all of the reasons these rules exist, and the Church has some very convincing evidence, but all I know is that I too have a conscience and it was unsettled. It was no longer okay to participate in things that felt wrong because some men had studied the Bible and told me I had to. The Dalai Lama has been known to say that he practices the religion of kindness, and I have to wonder, is that enough? Do we really need any formal religion at all?

Right now I’m in limbo. I’m reading a lot, thinking a lot, praying and meditating a lot. I talk about it to anyone who’s interested, but I’m careful. I’ve risked speaking up directly to people and sometimes that has only caused anger and hurt feelings. I can’t say that I regret speaking up but I can’t confidently say it was worth it either.

My biggest concern about all of this is for my kids. I agreed to raise them Catholic, they go to a Catholic school and yet here I am doubting all of that and worrying about how my uncertainty is affecting them. They aren’t old enough to get into the deep philosophical questions I have and of course they aren’t the least bit bothered by not attending Mass every week, but I never want them to have the impression that their faith isn’t an important part of their life. An excerpt in The Dance of the Dissident Daughter has helped me through all that…

“Not setting the ‘proper and accepted’ religious example for them conjured up images of the bad mother, the worst mother. Yet wouldn’t the example of a mother being true to her journey, taking a stand against patriarchy, and questing for spiritual meaning and wholeness, even when it meant exiting circles of orthodoxy, be a worthwhile example?

As I looked at their faces, love filled me up. It was the wise and difficult love that reminds parents that all we can really do is be true to our own spiritual unfolding and trust that our examples will one day help them be true to theirs. For children have a guiding spiritual wisdom inside of them, too.”

~Sue Monk Kidd

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter

Along the way, I have been comforted by many things, and found countless reasons for staying. I have met several people who feel the way I do, some who are just beginning, as I am, and others who have gotten past this point and been able to find their own place in the Church despite the imperfections. I found the books, daily meditations, and homilies of Fr Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest who gets to the heart of the church, what lies beneath all the doctrine. A priest who is openly critical of what goes on the Church today, but still loves the Church and believes that change will only come from people inside who are speaking up out of that love. I read a story about Mother Theresa who was known to tell her sisters that it wasn’t their job to tell the people they were serving about Jesus or to try to convert them to Christianity, it was their job to be Jesus.

The Church is made up of imperfect people and I realize it will never be exactly what I think it should be. I hope to get to a place where I can feel at peace with being there again. That I can get past the anger and frustration I feel now and take it for what it is. That I can feel at home in the ultra-conservative parish I’m in without compromising my more liberal beliefs, and also that I can learn to bless others for wherever they are on their journey instead of so badly wanting to make them see things the way I do. For now, I’m trusting the path that I’m on. After all, as a dear friend reminded me last week, “He put the search in my soul.”

Until later…


Posted in Catholic, Childrearing, God, Kindness, Love, Meditation, Motherhood, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

I’m Back…

Posted by Jenny on August 31, 2011

It’s been a while since I posted anything on my blog, and surprisingly a few people have actually asked me when I was going to write again.  There are many little things that had me stuck, but it all comes back to the same thing that always has me stuck when I get stuck and that’s FEAR!!  I’ve written about it before…the fact that I get freaked out about so many people who I know from so many different times in my life reading my blog, but several specific things happened that had me re-evaluating the whole “publishing my private life online” thing again.

  • As the blog got more serious I had one person say to me, “Get back to the funny stories about your kids, the whole spiritual journey thing’s been done a million times before and we’re bored with it.”
  • I wrote about a couple of “controversial” topics (Planned Parenthood, religion,) and got into some heated debates publicly and privately.
  • My mother-in-law googled me out of the blue one day and found my blog.  I really didn’t like that.
  • My mom joined Facebook, so she would probably see a post in her news feed and stumble upon the whole thing and read it.  I really, really didn’t like that.

There were a few other random things that were said to me or discussions I had where I felt like someone was making fun of me, and all of it together just got to be too much and once again I was obsessing about what others think and I let it get to me.

I never wanted to give up on the blog and I continued finding topics to write about, I just had to spend some time really thinking about what I wanted the blog to be, and who I wanted the audience to be and what I wanted to get from the experience.

I made a few decisions.  The truth is that I am on some sort of spiritual journey right now.  Call it whatever you want…an awakening, an identity crisis, a search for meaning and passion and purpose, a questioning of past ideas and beliefs…but whatever it is, it is big.  It is what I think about, it is what I want to talk about and it is what I want to write about.  I’m inspired by too many things to name and more than that, I care about the rest of humanity in a way that is new to me.  So I’m going to write about the stuff that gets me going, the things I find that make me think about something new or somehow change my perspective, and I’m going to share my journey, the good and the bad.  If you don’t like it, or you’re bored by that, don’t read it.  If, like me, you find yourself wanting more out of life and you too are seeking, enjoy and share your story with me.

I recently finished reading The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd.  It was life-changing in many ways.  I wanted to mark passages and share the insights I found with anyone who was willing to talk about it.  I’m sure as time goes on, I’ll share more of what I learned, but for now I’ll leave you with this quote that sums up so much of Kidd’s message…

“The ultimate authority of my life…is not confined between the covers of a book.  It is not something written by men and frozen in time.  It is not from a source outside myself.  My ultimate authority is the divine voice in my own soul.  Period.”

~Sue Monk Kidd

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, pg 76

Until later…

Posted in Anxiety, Blogging, Fear, Feminism, Religion, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

It’s My Birthday~A Progress Report

Posted by Jenny on April 12, 2011

It’s my birthday, and if you’ve read my blog before you know how much I love my birthday.  The truth is I love any occasion where I get presents, but my birthday is the bestest of all because it’s just about me, and I love attention almost as much as I love presents.

My birthday seems like a good day to update you on a few things.  I know you’re wondering how I’m doing on those New Year’s Resolutions, if I’m still coping without my therapist, if the Church has started ex-communication hearings based on my radical thinking, etc, etc…

I’ll start with the New Year’s Resolutions.  I just looked back at what they were, which is not a promising way to start this update.  I can say I haven’t completely abandoned all of them, but haven’t stayed committed to all either.  I did say I was going to train to do the Half Marathon again this year (which is less than 3 weeks away).  I got off to a good start.  I was up to running 4 miles by the end of February and then my knee started bothering me.  It was hurting more than usual and it was giving out while I was running.  I tried ice, I tried a brace, I tried taking a couple of weeks off, I tried running on a treadmill instead of outside, nothing seemed to be working.  I had pretty much given up on doing the race, but things have turned around in the past few weeks.  I can run on the treadmill as long as I don’t talk, look around, wipe my face, or take a drink.  It’s kind of funny actually, but as long as I’m looking straight ahead and completely focused I’m good.  In fact I ran almost 8 miles a couple of weeks ago.  So I’m almost caught up to the training schedule.  Still not sure how the race will go.  I plan on trying to run outside this week so we’ll see.  I wanted to do more yoga but that hasn’t happened.  I’ve been averaging about one class a week.  I still love it and would like to go more often, but most of my workouts have been running with the Flying Pig getting so close.  Hopefully after the race I’ll be able to get to yoga a bit more.  I wanted to write more blog posts in the new year, but that has not happened.  There are a couple of reasons.  First of all I just haven’t had the time.  I could find the time of course, other things have just kept me busy the last few months, so blogging hasn’t been a priority.  Also, I find a lot of the time that I want to write about things that are really deep or subjects that might be controversial or share some insight I’ve had on this “spiritual journey” I’m taking, and I still get nervous about what the reaction will be.  There is still this fear that people don’t want to hear about the serious stuff, or they don’t care, and then I tell myself it’s arrogant to think that anyone really cares one way or the other and if they don’t like it they don’t have to read it and then I start questioning why I do it in the first place.  Obviously, I’m still crazy.  Anyway, sometimes the nerves get the best of me, sometimes they don’t.  Finally, I mentioned that I would like to get my yoga teacher training certificate.  I have made some progress here.  I found a program at Cincinnati State.  I could start in the fall and be finished in a school year.  I would only have classes a couple of afternoons a week and it would all be while my girls are in school.  I do think this program will focus more on the physical aspect of yoga than the spiritual and I feel a little conflicted about that.  I would like to learn more about the entire philosophy, but this is the most convenient for me and my family right now and I think it’s a great place to start.  If I love it as much as I think I will, there are limitless opportunities for continuing education in the future.

I have now been free of my therapist for almost three months and it’s been fine.  She always said that the goal of therapy should be to someday stop needing therapy, that it can go on too long and get to a point where you are just going to talk or using it as a crutch and there really is no measurable benefit.  I think the end came at a good time for me.  I still use the tools and advice she gave me and there are times when I wish I could run something by her just to get an objective opinion, but I haven’t yet felt like I really needed her.  I can also say that my experience in therapy was so positive that I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again if I ever got to a point where I needed it.

Finally, there’s Church.  I do worry what people who I go to church with think about some of the things I’ve said.  I don’t worry enough to wish I didn’t say them, but what I worry about is that I was misunderstood or that my intention wasn’t clear.  I worry that people who are upset by what I’ve written didn’t really read what I said carefully, that they let their emotions about an issue cloud their perception of my post.  That in reality what I’ve said isn’t so radical and if you think about the points I made, you can see that we want the same things, we just might differ in how we believe they will happen. In all honesty I can tell you that I feel better about my place in the Church and about my own spirituality than I ever have and I do know in my head and in my heart that is what matters, but I’m human and I still struggle with that fear.

Overall, it’s been a great birthday and I feel good about where I am right now.  I made a commitment well over a year ago to take care of myself…mind, body, and spirit…and to make that a priority for the rest of my life.  I think I’ve kept that commitment.  I feel better than I ever have…Thirty-Eight is going to be fabulous!!

Until later…

Posted in Anxiety, Blogging, Catholic, Exercise, Fear, Gifts, Healing, Hot Yoga, Marathon, Motherhood, New Year's Resolutions, Religion, Teaching, The Flying Pig, Therapy, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Dr. Hunt’s Biggest Fan (aka Me)

Posted by Jenny on April 7, 2011

The reviews were mixed…on facebook and twitter and among my own circle of friends…there was a wide range of opinions about  “Grey’s Anatomy, The Music Event”.

Others might find the idea of people randomly bursting into song kind of ridiculous, but I love it, in fact I’ve often pictured myself doing it, but you know, I’m kind of crazy…

So because I’m a sucker for musicals (and a bit nuts), I absolutely loved the entire show.  I think I would be okay with “Grey’s Anatomy” becoming a musical series.  Now that I think about it, I don’t think there has ever been a Musical Drama Television Series?  Could it be done?  Could I star in it?  I can’t sing, but does that even matter?  Wow, I may really be onto something here.  It could be the next big thing in television…

What were we talking about again?  That’s right, my review of Grey’s.  It couldn’t have been better.  I thought the songs were fabulous, every one of them completely relevant to what was going on in the story, and I was pleasantly surprised that so many of the actors could sing so well, who knew?  I will admit there was a split second at the beginning when Owen started singing that I was taken aback.  I mean, out of all the characters, I wouldn’t have predicted he could sing, or that he would sing so much, or that his singing would completely change my perception of him.

Forget about McDreamy, McSteamy, McBlueEyesAvery…I have a new favorite doctor at Seattle Grace, Dr. Owen Hunt.  I’m not gonna lie, I’ve never really been a fan of guys with red hair, but after hearing him sing I gotta say that Kevin McKidd is one sexy ginger.  I’ve always liked the character and there had been times where I thought he was cute enough, but compared to the rest of the eye candy making up the male cast, he was out of his league, until he sang that is.  I don’t know what it is, but there was something about his voice that propelled him to the top of the list.  In fact, I loved listening to him so much I had to buy the entire soundtrack from iTunes, and I’ve been listening to it for the past four days…in the car, at the gym, right now, as a matter of fact.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy the whole episode as well so I can watch it over and over again…

Here’s “Chasing Cars” for you, just in case you missed it last week.

Now all he needs is a nickname.  Mc????  What do you think?  McRed, McMacho, McSoldier, McMusic, McSuperHot….I’m at a loss, any ideas?  I’d also love to know if you’re with me on this one?  Did you love it?  There has to be someone out there who agrees with me.  Or did you absolutely hate it and think I must be completely out of my mind?  Or did you love it but still think I’ve completely lost my mind?  Can’t wait to hear what you have to say…

Until later…

Posted in Grey's Anatomy, Motherhood, Music, Musicals | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Please Read This, Especially If You Disagreed With My Last Post

Posted by Jenny on March 28, 2011

I’m really not very political.  When politics becomes the topic of conversation, I usually don’t have much to offer.  I’ve often joked that even if I wanted to, I could never run for office because of the dirt people would dig up…PTO board is probably the only elected position I’ll ever hold.  But, for some reason, this issue of de-funding Planned Parenthood has struck a nerve with me.  Maybe because I am a woman, maybe because I was once a poor college student who went to Planned Parenthood for birth control pills, maybe because I’m the mother of three girls and I think these decisions will someday affect them.  Who knows, but I’m very concerned about how this is going to play out.  So, I’m going to write one more post about it and then hopefully get back to the nonsense of my everyday life.  I know you’re dying to hear about my girls trip to Marco Island and how Melissa would not leave Bethie and me out of her sight for fear we might get ruffied, or how we didn’t know there were panthers on the loose or what to do if we happened upon one while out walking.  If you’re really lucky and I truly run out of material, I may share the flip video Melissa took of my snoring (I have promised to see an ENT before our next trip).

Anyway, back to more serious matters.  The backlash from my last post wasn’t as bad as I expected.  It actually started a very civil, respectful debate on facebook.  I’m proud of all the women who were involved in that discussion.  Even if you didn’t weigh in, I do hope that the post at least made you think.

Let me again reiterate that I consider myself to be Pro-life.  I agree with so many of you that responded to me that we want to see the end of abortion in our lifetime, that we don’t want to pay for anyone’s abortion.  The point of my post was to simply open up the idea that this measure taken by Congress wasn’t going to accomplish that and maybe we need to consider some other options.  I simply don’t want the Pro-Life movement to hang their hopes on this amendment and celebrate it as a victory when ultimately we will see that it is not the solution we want it to be.

I purposely avoided using a lot of facts and statistics because frankly, it’s pretty much impossible to find anything on the web that isn’t obviously biased…Republican vs Democrat, Pro-Life vs Pro-Choice, etc.  I knew if I quoted one source, someone would find another to directly contradict what I wrote.  However, based on some of the comments and questions I did feel the need to try to dig a little deeper.  After reading quite a few articles today, I’m even more convinced that this is not even a small step in the right direction if the ultimate goal is to end abortion in the United States.  Let me tell you why I believe this to be true.

In actuality, the amendment passed in the House doesn’t simply end federal funding of Planned Parenthood, it cuts federal funding of the Title X program.  The Title X Family Planning Program was signed into law in 1970.  Title X is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing comprehensive family planning and related preventative health services.  The program was designed to provide access to contraceptive services, supplies and information to all who want and need them with priority given to people from low-income families.  In the past 40 years it has grown to include other preventative services such as cancer screenings and Pap smears, as well as STD and HIV testing and treatment for women and men.  In 2010 Title X cost taxpayers about $317 million.  Planned Parenthood received more of that than any other individual organization, but barely over 25%.  Yes, that’s still a lot of money, but not the $317 million that I stated previously went only to Planned Parenthood.  There are Title X clinics all over the country that are run by different organizations, some that provide abortions and some that don’t.  On top of that, it is against the law for Title X funds to be used for abortion.  Again, I understand the argument that if an organization that performs abortions receives federal money, the money helps to keep them in business, I just think that the factors I listed help to point out why this action taken by the House is not the victory so many think it is, and may in fact be bad for women.   I think we can all agree that completely ending the Title X Family Planning Program is a bad idea.   Once the money is taken away from Title X, it could be very difficult to get it back.

There is very little chance this amendment will pass in the Senate.  It is discriminatory to women and the collateral damage that will come from taking away affordable reproductive health services is beyond measure…unplanned pregnancies, untreated STD’s, lack of prenatal care, early detection of cancer.  Title X does not directly pay for abortions, so the government can’t legally take the money away from only clinics that provide abortions when abortion is still perfectly legal in this country.  I really do understand that on the surface, these grand sweeping gestures by government look like we are finally making some progress,  that putting Planned Parenthood out of business is cause for celebration, but I think we’ll see that this act only serves to further divide us, and let’s be honest, as long as abortion is legal and as long as there are women who still feel like it’s their best and only option, they will find a way to pay for it, and a clinic by another name will open it’s doors in Planned Parenthood’s wake and provide that service.

If this isn’t going to help, what will?  I wish I knew.  I know we’ve been fighting the law for 40 years and the victories have been few and far between.  Can we consider that maybe changing the law isn’t where we should focus our energy?  I think the change is going to be slow and steady and it’s going to happen from the bottom up.  We need to keep talking about it in a real and honest way.  We need to keep praying about it.  We need to share our stories and experiences.  Women who have had abortions are probably our most valuable resource right now.  Think about the influence a woman who has had an abortion could have over a scared, pregnant teenager.  If that woman can change the mind of just one other mom-to-be, then her baby didn’t die in vain.  Maybe just one woman and one baby at a time, we can change the culture of our country, we can become a world where no woman feels so scared or so desperate that she believes she has to have an abortion.  Keep supporting crisis pregnancy centers that counsel women away from abortion then support them through pregnancy and motherhood or adoption.  Teach our young people all the reasons why abstinence is the best choice, but also teach them how to take care of themselves and how to be safe if they choose to have sex, and teach them that even if they make a mistake, they are not a mistake and a baby is never a mistake.  Choosing life is always right.  Then maybe abortion clinics will go out of business on their own.

A friend on facebook, who is personally very close to this issue, reminded me that “Our Timing is not God’s Timing”.  Now may be a time to practice patience, we might have to wait a little longer for the answer to this prayer.

Until later…

Posted in Abortion, Motherhood, Planned Parenthood, Pro-Choice, Pro-Life, Title X Family Planning Program | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

De-Funding Planned Parenthood Is Not The Answer

Posted by Jenny on March 25, 2011

When I started this bloggy thing, I never imagined I would write anything controversial.  In fact, I’ve spent years trying to be anything but controversial.  But, as my opinions have gotten stronger and my voice has gotten louder, I have managed to ruffle a few feathers.  I really don’t like it when people get upset about things I write, however I still feel compelled to write about certain topics that might do just that.  This one is a biggie,  in my real life ultra-conservative community, and specifically with many people that I know and love.

A few weeks ago the House of Representatives voted to discontinue federal funding of Planned Parenthood. Pro-life groups all over the world were rejoicing. In fact, I received an email about it stating that it was a huge step in ending abortion and this was cause for celebration. I wish I could agree, but I just don’t.

I think I better explain my stand on abortion before everyone gets totally nuts on me. I don’t like it. I wish it didn’t happen. I wish it wasn’t so easy to get one. I am very much pro-life. I am in favor of people sitting peacefully outside of abortion clinics and praying for the unborn children and the men and women affected by abortion, as long as they aren’t harassing the people going in. I fully support Crisis Pregnancy Centers that offer counseling aimed at steering scared pregnant women away from abortion and toward keeping their babies or putting them up for adoption. In fact, there is one in my community that I support. We have given them monetary donations as well as gently used baby furniture. If I ever have the opportunity to counsel a woman considering abortion I will do my best to guide her toward a different decision. But I will also tell you that I won’t judge a woman who has done it. It’s not my job and I’m willing to bet, she is judging herself far more harshly anyway. I will be sad for her. She deserves compassion and forgiveness, and I believe that there’s a reason it happens and hope she learns whatever lesson she is meant to learn and someday can pass that on to another.

Planned Parenthood and other clinics like them do perform abortions. They also receive over 300 million dollars in federal funds annually. That’s a lot of money. Although there have been attempts in the past at prohibiting the use of those funds to subsidize abortion, they have never really worked. The money still goes to Planned Parenthood and there really is no way to guarantee that none of it is being used for that purpose. I get that, again I don’t like it. But the issue is far more complicated than that.

Planned Parenthood is not simply an abortion clinic, and sadly I believe that a lot of people don’t realize all that they do. Millions of women every year rely on Planned Parenthood for basic medical care. They provide pelvic exams, pap smears, mammograms, STD screenings and treatment, prenatal care, affordable contraception and HIV testing. They provide these services to women of all ages, races, and income levels…uninsured women in low-income neighborhoods, college students, middle class women who are under-insured and can’t afford to buy birth control at a regular pharmacy, and sexually active teens…millions of women. These services are available to so many because of the federal funding. Without it, Planned Parenthood can’t continue to offer so many services to so many women in need. What so many think is a victory against abortion is a giant step backward for Women’s Health.

Of course I don’t want my tax dollars paying for someone’s abortion, but there are a lot of things I don’t want my tax dollars to support…our tax dollars have been supporting a war in Afghanistan for 9 years. I don’t like it all, thousands of innocent lives have been lost, but I’m not naive or foolish enough to believe that we can simply decide to stop paying for it. There needs to be a plan. The consequences of any abrupt action need to be considered. The same is true in this scenario.

I doubt that in the wake of this decision, family planning clinics that don’t offer abortion services or referrals are going to be popping up all over the country, or that Planned Parenthood will decide to stop offering these services in order to get their money back. Besides that, even if they did, it would be very difficult to fund only clinics that are pro-life because abortion is legal in this country and falls under the umbrella of family planning and reproductive health services.

We need family planning services, and we need all women to have access to them. Right or wrong, most men and women don’t wait until marriage to have sex. I’m 37 and I know exactly one person that was a virgin on her wedding night. Most men and women have sex with more than one partner in their lifetime. Teenagers have sex. I have three girls and of course I will teach them that waiting is the best option, but if they make a different decision I want them to be smart and protected. I hope they talk to me about it, but the reality is they probably won’t. Most kids don’t. They may go to their parents for information or to ask questions, but rarely do they tell their parents if they have sex. This is true of kids raised by two parents in very Christian homes that are taught by their parents and by their schools that abstinence is by far the best choice. Let’s be real!! We want them to have access to birth control and doctors. Beyond sex education and reproductive health, it is important that women can get yearly pelvic exams, PAP smears, and mammograms when needed and it is a fact that Planned Parenthood provides those services to women who wouldn’t be able to get them otherwise.

One final point I’d like to make that Pro-life advocates don’t seem willing to admit, abortion is going to happen with or without this funding, and abortion is going to happen whether it’s legal or not. It was happening before Roe vs Wade, and it was a lot more dangerous and many women died. We’ll be headed right back to the same situation. Making abortion illegal isn’t going to stop abortion, it’s going to kill more women, and that doesn’t seem right either.

This issue is not black and white, there’s a whole lot of gray. I don’t know what the answer is, but taking the money isn’t it. For now, I think the best we can do is keep praying for those affected by abortion, keep supporting Pro-life crisis pregnancy centers, keep telling women that there are better options than abortion and there are people willing to help, but taking away the money will hurt millions of women and will not end the abortion problem in this country.

If you have a minute check out this video produced by the Second City Network in defense of Planned Parenthood.  They make their point and it’s funny too!!

Until later…

Posted in Abortion, Motherhood, Planned Parenthood, Pro-Choice, Pro-Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Mommy Fail #1,218

Posted by Jenny on March 7, 2011

My kids don’t know how to tie their shoes…

There I said it!  That was painful to admit, but sadly true, at least it was true before last night.

Yes, I am one of “those moms” who does everything for their kids because it’s faster and easier and less messy than teaching them to do it themselves.  I pour their drinks and pack their lunches and check their backpacks and hang up their coats…and YES, I tie their shoes.  It’s pathetic really, I know it is, but I have a serious lack of patience when it comes to teaching my kids simple tasks.  In my mind these tasks are so simple that I know trying to teach them will be an exercise in frustration because it just won’t be that simple for them.  There will be tears and cursing and hurt feelings and messes, at least I assume there will be, I don’t really know because we’ve never actually had these lessons.  By the way, I was an actual teacher for a very short time, I sucked!

So, back to shoe tying…Addy is 9, in the 4th grade, and I tie her gym shoes before school every day.  At some point a few years back, someone attempted to teach her and she got the basics, but never the opportunity to practice the skill, because of course I couldn’t stand how long it took and how loosely they were tied, so I just jumped in and did it for her.  Avery is 7 and in 1st grade, Reilly is 6 and in kindergarten and both have expressed a desire to learn, but once again, I hadn’t found anyone willing to do it, and I wasn’t going to take it on myself.  (FYI, I also didn’t teach any of the three to ride a two-wheeler, that right there is pure Hell.  I’m pretty sure I still owe my neighbor something for that.)  A few weeks back I was telling Tom that the girls all needed new gym shoes.  He said that was fine, but they all needed shoes that tied (no velcro) and they weren’t going to wear them until they could tie them without my help.  YIKES!!  That is just not like him to lay down the law like that.  I mean, really, what was he saying?  Teaching our children basic life skills such as shoe tying and drink pouring and coat hanging is part of our parental responsibility?  Slow down mister, I did not sign up for this…

I thought about it and ultimately realized he may be right.  I hear Occupational Therapy is costly, and I doubt insurance covers it in cases like this.  We made a plan…pizza night, then “Learning To Tie Your Shoes Party”, then ice cream, then watch a movie together.  A friend even designed a certificate for their accomplishment.  We were all set.  Unfortunately, the pizza dinner did not go well.  Everyone was crabby and exhausted and I don’t want to do this stuff when we’re all happy, so I wasn’t about to attempt it in this state.  We postponed the big event until last night.  I can honestly say I was dreading this more than the “sex talk”.  We had our pizza.  Tom had bought some sugary treats to bribe reward the girls (and mommy) for their success.  I went upstairs to manage bath time.  While Avery was soaking in the tub, Tom taught Reilly.  Before Avery was out of the tub, Reilly had run upstairs to announce that she had done it.  Then, he taught Avery while Reilly was bathing.  Piece of cake!!  After Addy’s bath, it was her turn.  I thought I should give it a try.  As much as I didn’t want to, Tom had done the other two and besides that, Addy is the oldest, so she should have been easy.  We sat down on the floor and she put on her shoe.  I asked her to show me what she already knew.  She totally tied her shoe, and she did it fairly quickly.  I’m not saying it couldn’t have been tighter, but it was good enough.  That little shit knew all along she could , she just wanted me to do it for her.  I had let this go on for too long because of my laziness and she never fessed up to knowing how because of hers.  Overall, the “Learning How To Tie Your Shoes” party was a success.  I did think it would provide more material for the blog, but I guess I should be grateful that it didn’t.  The girls learned a new skill, we had candy and ice cream, and we all sat on the couch together and watched “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”.  It was a fantastic night!

They didn’t wear gym shoes today, but they will for school tomorrow.  We’ll see how they do.  Let’s hope they do it quickly, because I won’t be able to stop myself from taking over if they’re so slow they might miss the bus.  Maybe our next party will be “Learning How To Get Yourself A Drink”.

Until later…

Posted in Blogging, Childrearing, Kids, Life Skills, Motherhood, Teaching, The Weekend | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Help, My Therapist Quit Me!!

Posted by Jenny on February 11, 2011

So, my therapist deserted me.  I was there for an appointment in November and after about 45 minutes of me sharing all the nonsense going on in my head, she said she had to tell me something.  It went something like this…

After 20-some years of doing this, I thought I’d heard it all, but Jenny, you are one crazy bitch.  I can’t help you and I don’t think there is anyone out there who can, so basically, you are on your own, from here on out.

Alright, that wasn’t exactly how it went down.  Actually, she told me she was retiring at the end of January and we would have to use our last couple of sessions to wrap things up and make a decision about whether or not I should continue therapy with someone else, or try to go without for a while.

When she told me, I was okay with it.  In fact, as I was driving there I had actually thought to myself that she was probably close to retirement, so I wasn’t all that surprised when she broke the news.  I was sad, mostly because I like her and I was going to miss her, but I wasn’t really worried about being without a therapist.  I had this whole “life” thing figured out.  I had been thinking about weaning myself off anyway.  We scheduled two more appointments, one in December and one in January.

Fast forward to mid-December, I went to what was supposed to have been my second to last appointment and basically whined and cried the whole time.  I was pretty sure my thyroid was out of whack which always makes me feel horrible, but part of feeling horrible is anxiety and depression so I never really know for sure if it’s physical or mental.  I was in the midst of blood work and doctor’s appointments trying to get it all straightened out, but in the meantime we agreed that I might need an extra therapy session or two.  I was a little better by my next appointment, but still kind of  weepy for no good reason.  She was sharing with me how difficult it was to say good-bye to all of her patients.  She was worried about some of them and then others she thought were ready and would be fine.  Through my tears and runny nose I commented that when she had told me about her retirement I thought I would be one of the patients who was ready to end therapy, and she laughed and said, “So did I.”

Of course, as it turned out, my thyroid was low and the doctor did adjust my medication, so by the time I had my last therapy appointment I really was feeling better.  I did cry when we said good-bye, but I wasn’t so worried that I wouldn’t be able to handle life without her.

The three days after that last visit were some of the most difficult and exhausting I’ve had in a long time.  I was pretty sure I needed to call and get a referral for a new therapist, but I didn’t.  Instead I tried to remember all the things I learned from her, everything I learned about myself and all the tools that I now have to get through the stress, and I handled it.

Here are a few of the biggest and best lessons from my 17 months of therapy…

  • More often than not, great change comes from great pain.  Those times when life seems unmanageable and we are feeling really low, are actually full of opportunity.  We can choose to wallow in self-pity, and blame others or we can figure out what we need to do to be better, and if we really want to be better, we have to make big changes.  In other words, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get, what you always got.”
  • When we are make big changes in our lives, people that we are close to won’t always like it.  Some relationships will be tested, some will end up stronger, some will come to an end.  What’s important for me is that I am true to myself from now on and no longer compromising what is important to me to make someone else happy.  I am not responsible for anyone’s happiness but my own.  This one has been difficult, to say the least.
  • Balance is extremely important for me.  Balancing my roles of wife, mom, friend, woman and having the room in my life to be all of those things.  Balancing how I spend my time…quiet or noise, work or fun, family or friends, alone or with others.
  • The biggest thing I learned was that I have to take care of myself…mind, body, spirit.  At the end of every session, she would ask, “What do you need?”  Wow, I had never lived my life from that perspective and I certainly don’t know many people who do, especially moms.  It seems so selfish.  What’s funny though, is that when I do the things I need for me, I am better able to care for the people I love.  There’s more peace in the house and not only do I have more energy to deal with all that raising three kids entails, I actually want to do all those things.  The resentment and the frustration and the desire to get out of the chaos and lock myself in the bathroom are gone.  I’m not saying I never feel those things anymore, I do.  I get busy and I skip yoga for a while or I don’t write for a couple of weeks or we have a snow day that screws up my routine and I fall back into old habits.  But when I’m consistent about having quiet time each day and writing often and exercising several times a week, everything else seems to fall into place.  Here’s an even greater side effect of taking care of myself…I am thinking more about what I can do for others.  Ultimately, taking the time for me has made me less selfish.  I think a lot more about my purpose in life.  What gift do I have to share with others?  What am I going to do to make the world better, even if it’s something small?  I have a few ideas about who and how I’d like to help, I just have to work out the details.

Obviously, I don’t have all the answers, and I’m sure I never will, but I think I’m heading in the right direction.  So, I’m going to try life without a shrink for a while.  At the very least it will be interesting, and if I take a wrong turn and need help, I can find someone else for the job.  Wish me luck, we’ll see how it goes.

Until later…

Posted in Anxiety, Blogging, Childrearing, Depression, Exercise, Friends, Gifts, Healing, Hot Yoga, Hypothyroidism, Kids, Meditation, Motherhood, Recovery, Stress, Therapy, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »


Posted by Jenny on January 10, 2011

I admit that sometimes I let my emotions get the best of me (duh) and sometimes what I write comes across differently than I meant.  I knew that my post yesterday would push some buttons.  Surprisingly, all of the feedback I got on the blog or facebook was positive.  I did however have a conversation with a friend that concerned me a little bit.  My comments about politics and Planned Parenthood specifically rubbed her the wrong way.

I am not apologizing for what I wrote and I still stand behind every word, but in case I was misunderstood I would like to clarify a couple of things.  When I participated in the Susan G. Komen run in September I sent an email to friends asking for donations to the cause.  I received an email from a friend telling me that I should think twice about supporting Komen because it was a known fact that they had given money to Planned Parenthood.  I chose to do the run anyway.  I was doing it in honor of a dear friend who is a breast cancer survivor and I believe that the Susan G. Komen foundation has done a lot of good in the fight against breast cancer and that is why the email bothered me.  I felt it was sent to spread negativity and possibly hurt the Susan G. Komen foundation and it was an attempt to negate all the good they do.  I chose to ignore the email, as did other friends of mine who I know are pro-life.  I did not look into why they gave money to Planned Parenthood or how much.  I am pro-life, and I like to think I am pro-life in all regards (except maybe bugs, rodents, and snakes…but that is for another day).  I do not support the death penalty.  My statements were meant to make a point about people being pro-life when it comes to the abortion issue but not pro-life when it comes to capital punishment.  In regards to emails asking me not to support businesses that support the homosexual lifestyle, I meant that exactly as I stated it, those make me crazy!!  As far as politics go, I never said if I was Republican or Democrat.  I’m still not saying.  I was merely stating that there are many more issues to consider when placing a vote.  My friend pointed out that the church does not tell us to vote Republican they tell us to vote pro-life (which most of the time is Republican).  Again I was trying to make a point of the hypocrisy I see in making one life more valuable than another.

Like I said, I’m not backing down from what I said, but I would hate to think people were upset about things I didn’t mean to imply.

Until later…

Posted in Breast Cancer, Catholic, Community Service, Exercise, Motherhood, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

I’m Feeling Very Nervous About This One…

Posted by Jenny on January 9, 2011

I’ve been working on this post in my head for a while now, but haven’t had the guts to write it.  Maybe it’s the New Year that has me feeling all brave, who knows, but I’m gonna do it…

One of the things I’ve really struggled with over this period of self-discovery is religion.  It’s kind of confusing really because I feel like my faith is stronger and I am more sure of what God wants from me and for me and I feel very peaceful. What I’m really struggling with is religion in general, what exactly is the point??

That sounds pretty bad, I know, but more and more I find myself questioning things that I know the church teaches or things that are being discussed in my Bible study or rules that I am expected to follow if I am Catholic.  Then of course I question whether the doubt and the asking of the questions means that I’m not really Catholic or that I’m a bad Catholic or that I should not be taking Communion or I should just leave the church.  Although I’m sure there are any number of opinions on the matter, I have come to decide that having the questions and even asking the questions does not mean any of those things.

My religion is actually really important to me.  I like going to Mass, I enjoy the tradition and the ritual and more often than not (if my kids aren’t bugging the crap out of me) I hear something in the homily that resonates with me or gives me something to think about.  I have many, many friends in my parish.  I know at any time for any reason there is a group of women that I could call if I needed something…to talk, to help with my kids, to go out for a drink, to bring me a meal, anything at all.  I am also very happy with the education my kids are getting and the friends they have made.

Before I really get myself into trouble, let me just say that I am not an expert on any of this.  I read a lot, but I am not a Biblical scholar and I don’t have a degree in theology, this is just how I feel and what makes sense to me.

I recently had someone say to me they worry that the gates to heaven are much more narrow than we think, so they are going to do their best to follow all the teachings of the Catholic church.  Well what if the gates of heaven are much wider than any religion believes?  I’ve always had a problem with the assertion that one religion is right and all others are wrong.  I can’t wrap my brain around an all-loving, all-forgiving God who will arbitrarily send a soul to hell because they were Muslim or Jewish.

When we die, if we come face to face with God and have to answer for our lives on Earth, is he really going to care if we used birth control or supported a business run by a homosexual couple or ate meat on Fridays during Lent?  I don’t think so.  I think we’re going to have to account for how we treated others.  Did we love our neighbors?  Did we treat others as we would like to be treated?  Did we do our best to live our lives with love and compassion and generosity and forgiveness?

Gandhi once said, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are nothing like your Christ.”  It makes me sad to say that I think he had a point.  Religion can be so exclusionary.  The Catholic church says everyone is welcome, yet there are so many rules about who can take Communion.  Why can’t anyone that wants to share in the body and blood of Christ be allowed to do so?  Jesus didn’t exclude anyone, in fact he went out of his way to include everyone.  If there are so many blessings to be had in the sharing of the Eucharist, why wouldn’t we want to share it with all?

I am tired of the emails telling me to boycott a certain business because they support the homosexual lifestyle or not to participate in a certain charity event because the organization once gave money to Planned Parenthood.  Show me a business that isn’t run by a sinner…there isn’t one.  Are the people spreading the message to hurt these companies free of sin…of course not!  To me those emails and requests are spreading a message of hate and intolerance, not a message of Christianity.  And I’m tired of being told that as a Catholic the only responsible choice is Republican because Republicans are pro-life.  Well people, Republicans are also pro-death penalty.  The church teaches us to value all life, so how do you make a decision that an unborn child’s life is worth more than a criminal’s?  And what about the 6,000 other issues to consider when placing a vote.  Neither party is in complete agreement with the Church’s teachings and neither has to be.  I’m sorry, but I thought separation of church and state was a founding principle of our government.  Politics and church do not go together.  That’s not to say that I don’t believe our leaders should be held to some moral and ethical code, I do, but morals and ethics don’t have to overlap with religion.

I’m sure at this point you are wondering why I even identify myself as a Catholic Christian?  The truth is that I believe in Jesus, I believe in the lessons he taught, I believe in the way he lived his life and that anyone who tries to live as he lived is doing well, and that can be said for any person of any religion or even atheists for that matter.  You do not have to believe  in the divinity of Jesus to know his message was good.  I’m Catholic because I feel closer to God when I attend Mass.  I’m Catholic because I love the community.  I’m Catholic because my faith is stronger and I’m more at peace when I go to church.  I’m there and I will continue to be there because I love God and I want to be there.  It wouldn’t work for me if I was there and following all of the rules because I was afraid of the alternative.  What would be the point if I was only going because I was afraid of God?  Maybe I’m missing something, but I just can’t believe that is what He wants either.

A friend recently introduced me to the teachings of Fr Richard Rohr.  He is a Franciscan priest who started The Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  I’ve spent a lot of time reading essays on his site and listening to some of his homilies.  He is Catholic, but so much of what he says is in line with my own thinking.  This friend said to me, “He is definitely not mainstream Catholic, but he’s mainstream Jesus and that’s what’s important to me.”  If you have some of the same questions I do, take a look at his site.  It’s been enlightening for me.

I realize that things I’ve said here may be considered offensive to some.  Please know that was not my intent, these are just my opinions, my feelings from my heart, what makes sense to me.  I think everyone has the right to believe what they want and practice any religion they want to practice and if it works for you and brings you peace and comfort, then that is where you should be.  These are just things I’ve thought a lot about recently and wanted to share.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Until later…

Posted in Anxiety, Catholic, Forgiveness, Friends, God, Kindness, Love, Motherhood, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

All I Want To Do Is Nothing…

Posted by Jenny on January 5, 2011

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m having a hard time getting motivated for all of my New Year’s projects. Forget about blogging, meditating, running, or yoga, I’m barely getting the dishes and laundry done.  There are still Christmas gifts to put away, for crying out loud!!

I did force myself to go out and run Monday and Tuesday, but now my shins are killing me.  Why would that happen?  I ran a lot last year without shin splints and my runs this week were really short in comparison to what I did in the past.  I’ve done some internet self-diagnosis and treatment planning and I’m thinking I shouldn’t run again until the pain is gone!!  WebMD says that could take two weeks.  That is not good news for half-marathon training.  So yoga for sure tomorrow, maybe the stretching will help.

I’m also having a hard time adjusting to the back-to-school schedule.  We stayed up late and slept in for over two weeks.  Getting up at 6:45 is killing me.  As soon as the kids get on the bus, I want to get back in bed.  Instead of my normal 20 minute power nap, I’ve been sleeping more like 2 hours and then I stay up too late and set myself up for the same thing the next day.

On top of those factors, there are two other things keeping me from being productive.  One is the book I’m reading.  Have you read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins?  Holy crap, I can’t stop.  It’s a trilogy and I’m almost finished with the second book, Catching Fire.  It’s been a long time since I read something that I couldn’t put down, and I gotta tell you, these books are getting in the way of a lot of  things I should be doing.  The other thing that keeps distracting me is the new Oprah Network, OWN.  Every time I turn on the TV, I get sucked into a show about hoarding, or Oprah behind-the-scenes.  Today I watched an old “Trading Spaces” that I’m sure I saw 8 years ago when it was on the 1st time.   They also keep running this guide to OWN, which is basically an hour-long infomercial about all the new shows and I think I’ve watched it three times.  It’s exactly the same thing every time!!!  WTF??  I feel like a total couch potato (more like a bed potato, because most of this inactivity takes place in my room).  This is really not like me at all.  Here’s hoping that thyroid medicine kicks in and I get my mojo back!!  If that’s not the key, I better learn to like Red Bull.

Until later…

Posted in Blogging, Christmas, Exercise, Holidays, Hot Yoga, Hypothyroidism, Marathon, Meditation, Napping, New Year's Resolutions, The Flying Pig, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011

Posted by Jenny on January 2, 2011

There’s no question that 2010 was all about trying new things for me.  I probably took more risks and tried more new activities in 2010 than I had in the 37 years prior.

A brief recap…

  • Started a blog
  • Began jogging for the first time in my life
  • Started drinking coffee (not really an accomplishment, I know, but it was new for me and became very important in my life 😉 )
  • Tried Zip-lining
  • Ran a half-marathon, 10K, and two 5K’s (in that order)
  • Started going to yoga and eventually became hooked on Hot Yoga
  • Went para-sailing
  • Served on a jury for over 2 weeks
  • Did a 30-Day Hot Yoga challenge (completed 22 classes in 30 days)
  • Completed a 21-Day meditation challenge

Wow, I’m even a little impressed by that list.  What’s sad is that I didn’t end the year as triumphantly as it began.  From about Thanksgiving on, I let the craziness of the holidays get the better of me.  Besides all the shopping, wrapping, baking, cooking, cleaning and mailing of cards and gifts, I also hosted Thanksgiving for 40 people, led the 4th grade class in a school wide service project for the Ronald McDonald house, and survived 2 snow days during the kids last week of school before break.  On top of all that, I felt like crap for most of the month which led to blood work, then what seemed like 27 phone calls with the doctor’s office, then an actual appointment, and finally an increase in my thyroid medication which is what I knew I needed all along.  So although I truly do love Christmas and everything that comes with it, I did let the stress get me down this year.  What also happened was that I quit doing all of those things that keep me sane – writing, running, yoga, meditating.  And, my therapist told me she’s retiring at the end of January, so I only have 2 more appointments (can I do it without her?)  Basically that means that when 2010 ended I was just as messed up as I was when it started.  The good news is, that I know what to do to make 2011 even better!!

I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, but it feels like the right thing to do this year.  I also know that when I write things down or share them with other people, I’m more likely to follow through.  So, here goes…

In 2011, I’m going to run the Flying Pig half-marathon for the 2nd time.  I’m going to get a better time than last year which was  2 hrs, 45 min.  My goal is to be closer to 10 min miles.  I would also like to be more committed to my yoga practice.  I never felt better than I did during the 30-day challenge.   Finally, I want to write more.  I love doing the blog, and I’m going to commit to writing two posts a week, and hope to do even more.

There’s one more thing I’m seriously thinking about, but I don’t know if this is the year, so I don’t want to claim it as a resolution.  I really want to become a certified yoga teacher.  I can’t get the idea out of my head and I have looked into the training programs available.  It’s not outrageously expensive and it can be done in as little as 4 months or spread out as long as 2 years.  There are a few things holding me back, but mostly it’s my own fear and doubt…I haven’t been doing yoga long enough, I’m not good enough at yoga to teach it, I won’t fit in with the other students, I’m not as thin as any other yoga teacher I’ve ever met, do I really want to give up my weekends to go back to school.  We just finished paying off my student loans for a degree I’ve never really used, should I spend another $2000 on my education?  I know that none of those reasons should stop me if it’s what I want to do, but like I said, I have to figure out if now is the time to do it, or should I wait?

Basically, I’m re-committing myself to staying healthy (mind, body, spirit).  I have some plans, that’s for sure, but I’m open to new opportunities that pop up along the way, as well.  I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Until later…

Posted in 2011, 30-Day Hot Yoga Challenge, 5K, Anxiety, Back to School, Blogging, Body Image, Christmas, Community Service, Exercise, Extreme Sports, Fear, Holidays, Hot Yoga, Hypothyroidism, Kids, Marathon, Meditation, Motherhood, New Year's Resolutions, Stress, The Flying Pig, Writing, Zipline | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Songs of the Season

Posted by Jenny on December 9, 2010

This is my most favorite time of the year, I absolutely love Christmas!!!! Mostly because I get a lot of presents, and I don’t know anyone who loves getting presents as much as I do (no one that admits it anyway). I also love the seemingly endless shopping spree, the wrapping paper, the decorations, the baking, giving gifts to the people I love, the looks on my kid’s faces when they come downstairs on Christmas morning…oh  and I can’t forget the whole reason for the season…the birth of Baby Jesus, of course.  But if I’m truly being honest, it’s the presents that I get really excited about!!

I am also a huge fan of holiday music, but I don’t really like the traditional holiday music. In fact “Sleighride” makes me want to puke. I do love some Christmas hymns, but only in church, never on the radio or while I’m out shopping. This is one of the few things my husband and I completely disagree on. As soon as Thanksgiving dinner is over, he wants to listen to Johnny Mathis sing Christmas carols. I tried to love it when we were dating, then I tried to just like it, then I tolerated it, but finally this year I had to tell him I truly couldn’t stand it. I know it sounds harsh, but not only does he do all the traditional stuff, I really can’t stand his voice!! We were out shopping for the girls last weekend and when he requested Johnny I had to break it to him that it wasn’t even on my iPod anymore. He didn’t take the news well, but I reassured him that Johnny is still alive and well on his iPod to enjoy whenever I am not around.

“Ally McBeal:  A Very Ally Christmas” is probably my favorite Christmas album.  I can listen to it from beginning to end and love most of the performances.  There are some classics mixed in with some more modern songs, but they all feel very up-to-date.  I was a huge fan of the show.  I especially loved it when Robert Downey Jr. was a cast member.  He does a couple songs on the album, but I’m especially fond of “River”. 

My favorite modern day take on a classic has to be “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings”  by Barenaked Ladies with Sarah McLachlan. It’s overplayed but I love it anyway.  My kids love it too!! 

Although Christmas makes me happy, I do have a thing for sad Christmas songs (I like sad songs in general, so no big surprise here).  Two of my favorite sappy, sentimental, sad holiday love songs are “Winter Song” by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson and “Song for a Winter’s Night” by Sarah McLachlan.   

I recently made some holiday cd’s for my sister and some for a friend.  My sister texted me after listening to tell me that “Mr Heatmiser” by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy made her feel like doing a strip tease.  My friend texted me after that to tell me that it was one of her favorites from what I gave her because it reminder her of being a kid.  Very interesting, don’t you think?  Two completely different reactions to the same song, but it stood out as a favorite to both of them. Whether it makes you feel naughty or nice, you can’t argue that it’s a fun song.  Take a listen and see how you feel…

I try to find some new music to add to my collection every year.  Last year I bought the Sugarland holiday cd “Gold and Green”.  I really like about half of it, the half that aren’t classic carols.  “Little Wood Guitar” and “Coming Home” are great, but my favorite has to be “Maybe Baby (New Year’s Day)”.

This year, I saw that the Indigo Girls had a new holiday record.  I’ve always been a fan, so I tried it.  The whole cd is fantastic!!  There are some traditional songs that I actually enjoy, in fact, I love their take on “Oh Holy Night”.   You also need to hear “Your Holiday Song” and “It Really Is (A Wonderful Life)”.  If I’m going to pick just one though, it would be “The Wonder Song”.  I think you will love it too. 

There’s just one more that needs to be mentioned, but unfortunately I don’t have a recording of it to share.  My friend, Goodwill Guy (you may recognize the name as he’s a regular commenter on my blog), wrote a holiday song in my honor…at least that’s what I like to think.  It’s all about loving and accepting everyone no matter their religion, race, or sexual orientation and it’s funny as hell!!  He performed it for the first time at a Christmas party over the weekend and I know that if he would share it here, it’s bound to be a huge hit.

I couldn’t include all of my favorites in this post, but I have added some others that I love to the playlist on the right.  Give them a listen if you have the time, and while you’re at it, share with me the holiday music that you love.  I would love to add to my collection.

Until later…


Posted in Christmas, Friends, God, Holiday Music, Holidays, iPod, Motherhood | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Giving Back

Posted by Jenny on November 12, 2010

Addy has big ideas.  It’s one of the things I love most about her, in fact I’m often in awe of how her mind works.  She is always making plans for starting a new club, putting on a show, developing a power point presentation, she’s always working on something.

The Thanksgiving Fair Committee

I gotta tell you though, sometimes I get annoyed with these plans of hers, because they often require some level of commitment on my part…she needs to use our house, they cost money, there is work to do that requires adult assistance…and frankly I don’t need anything else on my to-do list.   A couple of years ago she had an idea to have a Thanksgiving Fair to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.  She got her three best friends in on the plan and they wanted to invite the whole neighborhood, as well as everyone at school and church.  There was going to be a show, games, crafts, and a Thanksgiving feast.  Of course, I immediately wanted to say no, because the idea was too overwhelming.  My next door neighbor however, managed to work the idea down to something manageable.  So we invited the kids in the neighborhood to come to our basement for a monetary donation and a canned good.  There was a game, a craft, face painting, a story and a simple Thanksgiving feast.  Of course, the whole thing was not nearly as bad as I expected it to be.  The neighbors all had fun and thought the girls did a great job.  I think they raised around $100, but me being the slacker mom that I am, didn’t mail a check right away and my husband found the box of cash a year later and finally mailed it with a note explaining how the girls raised the money.

I’ve come to accept that I’m not the kind of mom who likes these sort of projects and that’s probably not going to change, but I have to say Addy made me feel a little guilty the other day.  She has talked me into buying craft supplies for the art sale she was having to raise money for a clubhouse, and we did have a garage sale a few months ago for the same cause, but neither of those projects required much from me.  However, she has asked several times to have another fair.  I’ve always said “We’ll see,” or “Maybe for the next holiday,” and she has dropped it.  She asked again earlier this week.  The conversation went like this…

Addy:  Mommy, I’ve been thinking we should have another Thanksgiving Fair this year.

Me:  I don’t know Addy, Thanksgiving is right around the corner and we have lots to do already on the weekends.

Addy:  What about a Christmas Fair?

Me:  Sweetie, December is really busy too.  Maybe next year.

Addy:  But mommy, I really want to do something to help people.

Me: (starting to feel a twinge of guilt) I know Addy and that’s really great, but we just don’t have time to do a fair right now, so maybe we need to think of something else.

Addy:  But something to do where people have a good time and we are helping others seems like a perfect combination, and the last one was so much fun, and I really, really, really want to help people.

Me:  You’re right Addy, that is a perfect combination, but really we can’t do it now, there isn’t a good time and it costs a lot of money to put it on.  Maybe another time.

Addy:  (in a sad, quiet voice, with tears in her eyes) Mommy…it just feels like you are holding me back.

GULP.  She got me.  I do recognize that she is a drama queen and a master manipulator, but I felt like crap.  She has always had this inclination to help people, and I have rarely done anything to encourage it.  She reads about kids who need clothes or food or medicine and she wants to take up a collection.  She sees a St. Jude telethon on TV and she wants to have a fair.  Just a few weeks ago at recess, she tried to start a “Charity Club” and I think she held one meeting and the rest of the girls were bored and it fell apart.  Of course, in theory, this is exactly the kind of person I want her to be, but in reality I’ve failed to raise her that way.  In theory, it’s exactly the kind of person I want to be, but I haven’t done it either.

My parents didn’t teach me to serve.  We never had money to donate, we didn’t have a church where we could volunteer our time, and there surely weren’t any discussions about social justice or activism.  I see stories all the time about amazing things ordinary people do every day to help others and I admire them and wish I did more, but I don’t.  I send money sometimes and I do volunteer a lot of time at church and school, but in truth that’s easy.

Where do I begin?  I’m not ready to take my family to another country and build schools, but I want to do something and I want my girls to learn now that there is always something to be done.  I struggle all the time with teaching my kids gratitude in this culture of instant gratification.  Maybe actually showing them how fortunate we are compared to so many others would help them learn, and of course, I don’t want to squash this gift in Addy, I want to see it grow.

So my question is this…do you do any kind of community service?  Have you ever participated in community service with your kids?  I’m looking for ideas, a starting point.  Honestly, finding something on my own seems scary and overwhelming…I need help figuring out how to help!!  Please share your thoughts, suggestions and experiences with me.  Thanks so much!!

Until later…

Posted in Childrearing, Community Service, Friends, Gratitude, Holidays, Kids, Kindness, Motherhood, Neighbors, Powerpoint | Tagged: , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

The Halloween Grinch

Posted by Jenny on November 4, 2010

Here’s a shocker…Halloween kind of gets on my nerves…the picking out of the costumes, the running around to find all the miscellaneous accessories and make-up to go with the costumes, the expense, the late night which is almost always a school night, and the constant begging for and eating of the candy for weeks after Trick-or-Treating.  I do my share to make sure the candy is gone quickly, but it’s a lot of freaking candy.  There is a small window of time on Halloween evening that I do enjoy.  Once the kids are all dressed up and we head outside for pictures, I’m happy.  They are almost as excited about going door to door collecting treats as they are when they wake up on Christmas morning.  The tradition in my hood is for the dads to take the kids and the moms all hang out together in a neighbor’s driveway and pass out the candy.  So for about an hour and a half, Halloween is fun!  Then they get back, start begging for candy, cry about going in, must have baths, get to bed late and wake up the next morning asking for candy for breakfast.  Here’s another surprise…I don’t like dressing up for Halloween.  I haven’t done it since before I had kids and I’m never disappointed that we don’t know anyone throwing a costume party when fall rolls around.

BUT, in honor of me trying hard to be a better person, which means being a better mom, I did do something fun just for my girls this year.  It may not seem like such a big deal to you, but it was impulsive and silly and new for me and my girls thought it was pretty cool…

Halloween 2010

You have to look closely to even see it, but I promise it’s there…I have purple hair!!  Addy was Purple Riding Hood, Avery was a Purple Baterina, and Reilly was a Vampiress in a red dress, who wanted purple hair just because, so the four of us decided we all needed to match.

Like I said, nothing major, but Addy suggested it, never believing I would do it, and we had a big laugh over the whole thing.

I’m sure there are times you read things about how I rarely let my children do crafts, how I don’t like much about Halloween and the fact that I really, really, really, LOVE my time while they are in school and you wonder why I even have children.  The above statements are entirely true, but I also really, really, really LOVE my girls, and I honestly do love to spend time with them as well.  Sure, they make me crazy, and I don’t pretend to have all the answers when it comes to this business of parenting, but there is no doubt that my life is richer with them in it, and wanting to be a good example for them is what motivates me more than anything else.

So tonight I just wanted to remind you all, that even though I take this “finding the meaning of life” journey very seriously, it’s completely pointless if I’m not having fun, and I do know how to have fun with my kids.

Until later…

Posted in Childrearing, Family Portrait, Halloween, Holidays, Kids, Love, Motherhood, Neighbors | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

“The challenge is not to be perfect, it’s to be whole.”

Posted by Jenny on November 3, 2010

Did you happen to catch Jane Fonda on Oprah last week?  At 72 she is absolutely fabulous!!  Seriously, I was inspired by every thing she said and when the hour was over, I wished she was coming back the next day.

Although the entire interview was fascinating, there was one part that really spoke to me.

Jane says she used to struggle with the idea of perfection.
“It’s a toxic desire to try to be perfect,” she says. “I realized later in life that the challenge is not to be perfect. It’s to be whole.”
For Jane, the entire third act of life is about “becoming whole.” This sparks an aha! moment for Oprah.
“Wouldn’t it be amazing if everybody … was able to make the shift to not have your life be about being successful or getting ahead?” Oprah says. “What if our entire culture rested on, ‘How do I become more whole?'”
“It would be a completely different world,” Jane says. “You can’t be trying to be perfect and be whole. You have to know what’s wrong and say: ‘It’s okay. It’s all right.'” taken from

Isn’t that the truth??  That’s what the past year and a half has been about for me.  Soon after I started therapy, my counselor asked me what I envisioned when I thought about getting better and I said I wanted to be whole and healthy and happy.  I love being a wife and mother, I really do, but when that’s all I was, I wasn’t really there.  I was meeting the needs of my family and doing what I thought I should be doing, what society expected, what so many of my friends were doing, but I wasn’t being me, I wasn’t bringing my whole self to the table.  Don’t get me wrong, I was doing what I had always wanted to do, so I never felt cheated or that I was making any kind of sacrifice to take care of them.  What happened to me was gradual.  I became so focused on having the perfect family and being the perfect stay-at-home mom, that I forgot there was a whole woman buried somewhere inside…a woman who had opinions, who was smart, who was funny, who loved to learn, who was interesting and who was interested in finding meaning and purpose in this crazy life.  I had become a woman who didn’t believe she had any special gifts or talents and that all she had to offer the world was wrapped up in how she raised her children.

So now everything I do is with the intention of becoming whole and healthy and happy.  To me that means living a balanced life, finding ways to take care of myself…mind, body, spirit.  It means truly getting to know myself, the good and the bad, and sharing the real me with the people I love.  It means searching until I find my passion, trying new things even when I’m afraid, being willing to fail or get my feelings hurt for the sake of standing up for myself.   It means being thoughtful and careful about things I do and decisions I make.  It means I can be a better wife, mother, friend…a better person.  Being perfect leaves no room for improvement, and I like to believe I’ll be getting better until the day I die.

Until later…


Posted in Childrearing, Healing, Kids, Marriage, Motherhood | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge

Posted by Jenny on November 2, 2010

October has ended, so now you get to hear all about my 30-Day Hot Yoga Challenge.  I’m sure you’ve been dying to know how it went.

September was gone in the blink of an eye because of jury duty (which included very little exercise, too much junk food, and LOTS of caffeine), so I figured I needed to do something crazy in October to get myself back on track and motivated again.  I saw that my yoga studio was doing a 30-day challenge and it sounded like just what I needed.   For $120 you put your name up on the big board to track your progress, you can go to a class every day the month of October and if you complete a minimum of 22 classes, you are entered into a drawing for a 6-month unlimited pass.  They also promised it would change your life…or something like that.  Here’s the blurb from the website:

Imagine a svelte, calm, and more balanced you. 30 Days of consistent classes (any classes on the schedule) will set up a discipline. For your mind, and for your body. It will set up your expectations and help you find a way to better fit yoga into your life on a regular basis. It will refresh and renew your body.

Sounds fantastic doesn’t it??  Too good to be true??  Maybe, but I had done enough yoga, and I knew from experience that 21 days of any behavior leads to a habit, so I was going to give it a shot.  I realize the fact that I could even consider participating was a luxury that most moms don’t have, but just because I had the time, didn’t mean committing to and completing the challenge was easy.  It meant giving up about 3 hours every day to sweat my ass off and workout.  It meant choosing discomfort over sitting on my bed and writing a blog post.  It meant choosing something that was solely for me and my own physical, mental, and spiritual health and neglecting things that should have been on my to-do list, like cleaning my house.  Not many women I know would make a choice like that, there would be guilt and stress about chores that weren’t getting done and it would feel way too selfish.  I do get that, I can tell you honestly, that a year or two ago, I wouldn’t have done it either.

I knew when I signed up, that I couldn’t do all 30 days.  I have two girls who play soccer every Saturday and Sundays can be really busy too.  I let myself off the hook for the weekends, I had to…that would have caused stress for all of us.  I hoped to make it to 26 classes, but I decided that if I only did 22, I was okay with that (perfection is way over-rated).

I’m happy and proud to tell you that I made it to 22 Hot Yoga classes in October and I truly have never felt better.  I made it almost every weekday and 4 out of 5 Sundays, so most of the month I was going 6 days a week.  Some days were harder than others.  There were definitely mornings when I didn’t want to go, but I did.  There were classes that were more difficult than others, but I always finished.

It’s hard for me to describe exactly how it changed me.  I feel it so profoundly, yet I’m struggling to put it into words.  I feel overwhelming peace and calm.  That probably sounds unrealistic to you, but to me it’s not really adequate.  There is a quietness inside of me, I don’t have the crazy, paranoid nonsense in my head all the time, I’m not constantly running through lists of what needs to be done.  I’m perfectly okay with not getting things done.  I think more before I speak, so I think the quietness is external too.  I also think before I do anything.  I don’t make any plans without really considering whether or not it works for me and my family, and I’m okay to cut something out of the schedule if it doesn’t work.

There have been physical changes, as well.  I didn’t lose a single pound, which is surprising with all the sweating, but I definitely built some muscle.  I can see it mostly in my arms and legs.  I know I’ve built more core strength.  I can actually feel muscles in my abdomen which is new to me (pretty sure, however, that they will never be visible after carrying 3 babies).  I see the biggest difference in my waist.  I have always had a very straight boy-like figure, even when I’ve been thin, and I can actually see definition in my waist.  I honestly didn’t  think that was possible.  I’ve also gained some flexibility.  I am able to go deeper into most of the poses than I was at the beginning of the month.  I can’t believe my body can do this!!  The other thing is that I have a body awareness that I never possessed before.  This is also really difficult for me to describe…I’ll try.  I’ve never really been able to control how my body moves, nor have I been comfortable with it.  But the slow, controlled movements of yoga and the discipline it takes to breathe correctly and make minor adjustments to different body parts and muscle groups to really do a pose accurately have changed that.  All of the poses require you to be conscious of several parts of your body, the instructors are constantly reminding you to tuck your tailbone in, square your hips to the mirror, tuck your chin, flex your feet, etc, etc.  The more you practice, the better you get.  Before yoga I couldn’t even relax my wrist when I was getting a hand massage during a manicure.  The nail tech would tell me over and over to relax and I literally couldn’t do it.

I am hooked!  I actually find myself doing yoga poses in the middle of the day at home, just because the stretch feels so good.  I actually haven’t been to a class since Thursday because Halloween weekend festivities took over for a few days, and I miss it terribly.  I know I can’t continue to go 6 days a week, it’s too much time, but I’m hopeful that I will stay committed to at least 2 or 3 classes a week, and I would consider another 30 day challenge somewhere down the road.

I really do wish I could get everyone I know to do yoga…hot or not…for so many reasons.  First of all, anyone can do it.  Size, shape, flexibility and fitness level truly do not matter at all.  Yoga is all about doing what works for you, making modifications for your body and ability, and all of the instructors I have met are extremely kind and really do want to help you.  Second of all, it is completely non-competitive.  I didn’t believe that when I started, but it is true.  I do look around sometimes, especially if we are doing a new pose and I don’t quite understand what I’m supposed to do, and sometimes I’m in awe of what other students are capable of, but I never feel inadequate, and I never wish to be where they are.  There are still classes where I get too tired and have to take child’s pose for a bit to rest and I don’t ever get embarrassed about it.  I know I’m doing my best and listening to my body.

I think I could practice yoga for the rest of my life and always love it!!  Give it a try, I know you’ll love it too!!

Until later…

Posted in 30-Day Hot Yoga Challenge, Blogging, Body Image, Exercise, Hot Yoga, Meditation, Stress, The Weekend, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Boredom, Shmoredom

Posted by Jenny on October 27, 2010

Whoever said I would be bored once all of my kids were in school was crazy.  In fact, I think it was the other way around…I was bored when my kids were home.  YIKES…that sounds bad, even to me.  Let me clarify…

I have always been grateful for the fact that I could stay home with my girls.  I always recognized that it was a privilege that a lot of women didn’t have.  I always knew it was the best decision for me and my entire family.  But, let’s face it, a lot of the time I was doing the same things over and over and over without much thought.  Get up, fix breakfast, break up fights, calm tantrums, fix lunch, break up fights, kiss a boo-boo, fix dinner, break up fights, bathe kids, put them to bed, collapse.  Throw in some errands when I was feeling brave, maybe have a friend over to play, do a craft or game once or twice a year, and that pretty much sums it up.  I was busy and I never felt like I was accomplishing anything, but it was monotonous and although the years flew by, the days seemed to drag on forever at times.  The truth is, I’m just not very good at playing with my kids, I never loved going to the park or the zoo, and like I said, I’d rather have a sharp stick in the eye than get out the play-doh or sit down for a game of “Candyland”.  My kids are far more entertained at school than they are with me.

Two months have passed since my three babies left all together on that big yellow bus for the first time and I have never been busier.  The thing is that I love all of the things that keep me busy now.  I had jury duty in September for a couple of weeks which was absolutely fascinating (still intending to write a post on that), I am almost finished with my 30-day hot yoga challenge (so many changes I can’t wait to share), and I meditate every morning for at least 10 minutes.  I try to work on the blog a little each day, which sometimes means reading other blogs for inspiration or joining a group to network and learn more.  I’ve also been to lunch with friends a few times, and I volunteer at school more than ever before (but not too much) and I really enjoy it, which is especially surprising.  I keep up with the important things like dishes and laundry, and I put things away more than before, but my house still isn’t really clean and I haven’t cooked those healthy and delicious meals I was planning, but with all the yoga and meditating I’m doing, I don’t really care.  Earlier tonight I was making a to-do list for things that need to be done this week to be ready for Halloween weekend, and I truly do not have time while the girls are at school Wednesday and Thursday (random day off on Friday 😦 ) to get it all done.

There are times I think about getting a job, but not because I’m bored…only because I’m redefining my dreams and expectations and I’m willing to try something new.   I don’t think I’ll be bored ever again, at least not until school gets out for the summer.

Until later…

Posted in Back to School, Blogging, Childrearing, Exercise, Freedom, Friends, Gratitude, Hot Yoga, Kids, Meditation, Motherhood | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Growing Pains

Posted by Jenny on October 22, 2010

It’s no secret that I’m doing a lot of things differently in my life these days.  At the beginning of the school year, I started meditating every morning.  For me, that means I have at least 10 minutes of stillness every day.  I also go to yoga regularly, in fact this month I’ve been 17 times.  That means I get a lot of quiet time to think.  It’s amazing what you hear, when you take the time to be quiet and still and calm.

I feel different, I really do.  There is peace within me that I have never experienced.  I also have clarity about what I want and what I feel and what I believe to be true…and frankly, it feels amazing and empowering and scary.  I feel really comfortable with all these changes and I don’t want to go back to living unconsciously and following along or not speaking up because I don’t want to offend anyone or not speaking up because I’m afraid I won’t be able to defend my point of view.  What’s scary is that it means sometimes people I know and love aren’t going to like the changes in me and sometimes we are going to disagree and they’re going to want to defend their point of view.  Sometimes the new me, who I really love, feels a little lonely and disconnected and isolated because she knows her thinking about a lot of things is very different from the people she knows.  Even a change for the better can be extremely  difficult.

Until later…

Posted in Hot Yoga, Meditation, Motherhood | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Guest Writer: the Bitch in the house

Posted by Jenny on October 20, 2010

“Are pretty girls nice and ugly girls mean?”

This morning the lilEinstien asked me that question to which the hubby laughed and blurted out, “yes, and it gets worse as they get older. Get used to it!”

I was not amused.

You see, I am trying to raise feminist sons. Not emasculated boys who cannot feel comfortable in their own skins. I want them to grow into men who will respect women. And the lilEinstien’s question was a fair one given the media and social influences in our society that lead him to question what makes a person good or bad while he is also considering the larger social constructs of the kind of false-beauty as he sees it on tv and in the movies in contrast to the beauty he sees in the people he loves and cares about in our circle of loveys.

The hubby’s clarification was trite after being on the receiving end of my mama-glare. “It’s more complicated than that,” he told the lilEinstien, “sometimes the pretty girls are really mean and the ugly girls are nice.” Whatever that means to a 7 year old.

My boys may not grow up to call themselves feminist. But they are growing up to respect the ways in which girls are different than boys and also the ways in which girls are the same as boys. You see, it is not a hard and fast line between the girl/boy gender dichotomy even if that is what our kids see on tv. So we talk about the differences and the samenesses and we challenge what they “know” about being a boy versus being a girl in their daily lives. When the ePrince and buddies talk about a girl being less than virtuous, we talk about why her choices might cause herself harm, but their judgments about her behavior are just that – judgmental. We turn these kinds of discussions over and around until they can see the fallacy of perceived good-girl behavior and contrast that with the larger picture of what is acceptable conduct for boys.

And I know, as their feminist mother, that there are some battles I am going to lose. Try as I might, I have never been able to convince an elementary school teacher to disrupt the girls line and boys line in walking to class. Despite this strategy for organizing children as having fallen out of favor in most of the rest of the country, my homestate still utilizes this convenient gender-normative practice. Nevermind the child who doesn’t really know which line is best for them – the other kids will pour on the social pressure and demand that kid fall into a gender appropriate line as defined by the class.

At our house we have some simple rules about respect and not just for women, but all kinds of people. We don’t ever tell our boys to “man up” because that just doesn’t make any kind of sense in a household like ours. And that is not to say that our boys are not rough and tumble, they most certainly are. Still, the hubby is not always on board with the feministing of our boys. Sometimes he is downright frustrated with always having to hash out every issue through the lens of women’s studies theory. Sometimes he finds it convenient to take advantage of our assigned gender roles to get what he wants in the world outside of our house.

But inside our house, I am responsible for the care and keeping of the children while managing the powertool-type jobs that need to be accomplished. The hubby cooks and is our breadwinner. We share the folding of the laundry and the cleaning of the floors. I am a hellion to cross and the hubby can be passive-aggressive. We have a somewhat equal relationship. Our family life does not mesh well with the vision of “family” as marketed for the masses. And we talk about that too. Going to the hardware store can have me furious and ranting about sexist men while the Housewives of… has the hubby fuming over guileless female victims. We talk and talk and talk some more about the roles we are expected to play in our society and the way we are actually most comfortable living.

I think some of this talk is rubbing off on our boys. We are all modeling more equal and respectful kinds of relationships (even if in my marriage it is a hard won kind of equality). My guys may not muddy the waters of gender normativity on the surface, but in raising them to be conscious consumers of socialization and culture we are challenging those perceptions of self as foisted on them by the larger community in which we live. This methodology of raising children feels like a great social experiment! Watching my 16 year old ePrince develop into his manliness and the lilEinstien being sharp enough to ask this question of the day makes me feel like I just might have done something right as a mama. But their child-rearin’ is not yet over and it is too soon to tell how it will all come out; lest you think I’m basking in some self-righteous glory. I know I still have mama-work to do that will not end, even into their adult lives, when they will have even more pressure to conform to ideas of manhood.

To find out more, visit the BITCH in the house and discover a bitchin’mama at the intersection of political quagmire & real life.

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