Today's prompt: Share a story from your childhood. Dig deep....
(This is from the old archives of Simply Jenn-Sational written from October of 2007. I have edited the story some and thought it fitting for today's "deep" post.)
I guess when I admit openly that I once tried to kill my brother, it sounds dreadfully awful. But it's true. I had a murderous heart and did in fact wish
my brother’s death. Sadly, I had my reasons....
It was a crisp fall evening. Even now, I can remember that night as if it were yesterday. It was at the odd house on Greenthumb with the funny-looking fireplace that sat in the middle of the living room - jet black, with a large pipe that hung from the ceiling. Quite possibly the ugliest "fireplace" ever imagined.
But, I also remember that this house didn’t
have a connecting fence with the neighbors to the left of us. Which
was fine by me since I made friends with the other Jennifer who lived
was a nice sized hill on the side of her house that rolled into ours and on this particular night, my cousin Chris and I were playing
on this hill. We were having a great time rolling down the hill, laughing and carrying on as most 8 year-olds
do, and there was my brother, tagging along in the games I was playing
with my cousin. I suppose he just wanted someone to play with him too,
but I was angry that I could never escape him. He was always around, always needing something.
brother was born with severe birth defects that affected his digestive
and reproductive systems. He was sown up from the back side to the
belly button, had no genitalia, and had colostomies that emptied his
waste on his side. His diagnosis was something called short-gut
syndrome. Very rare, and very complicated. Because of his special needs, my brother required much
attention - especially of my mother. I
was jealous of him - he got all of the attention....all of her attention. And I wanted some of
And so, at the age of eight years old, I devised a way to eliminate him so I could get the attention I was so starved for.
we were playing and rolling down this hill, I
noticed a very large ant pile a little further down the way. I knew
that if we were to roll down in that area, I would probably get stuck in
this ant hill and be covered in them. I also knew if my brother
were to get a number of ant bites, that he would probably get very sick
and could possibly die from them. He was in the hospital even if he got a
cold because his immune system was so poor. I was his big sister and he
always listened to what I said or told him to do. So, I instructed him to
roll further away from me so I wouldn’t
tumble over him and then we could all roll down the hill at the same time.
knew very well what I was asking him to do. I wanted him to land in
the ant pile, get enough ant bites to make him sick....and then die.
waited to see what would happen.
He went tumbling down the hill and
landed in the ant pile. I still remember seeing the fire ants swarming his overalls. Immediately I was flooded with guilt
after I saw hundreds of ants crawling all over him and wanted to come to his
I sent my cousin in to get my mom as I started ripping off all
of his clothes. In that moment, I was desperate to save his life and hoped that he would be okay. By the grace of God, my brother made it out of this incident without a single ant bite on his
entire body - a huge miracle. I believe I had a few ant bites on my arms, but thankfully I was able to undress him and got them off of him before they did damage to his
body. He was fully undressed by the time my mom came outside and I was still brushing off his body to make sure he was ant-free.
The most wretched part of the story is that I was named the hero. I can still remember her getting on her knees, level with me. Eye-to-eye she sobbed and held me in her arms and told me how much she loved me and was so thankful for me. That she was proud of me. That I was the best big sister in the whole wide world....that I had saved his life. Feeling her arms around me. Seeing her look me in the eye with her tears - tears that were for me, tears that meant she loved me - that....that was everything I had wanted. My mother's desperate, aching love for me.
When I look at the depravity of this situation, it
makes me want to weep. I tried to kill my brother so my mother would show me that she loved me.
For a long time, I felt
ashamed that I had wanted my brother dead and went to such devious means to see
that it could happen. It was pre-mediated, thought out and planned. I wanted my brother
dead so I could have attention from my mother - attention that I should
have received regardless of how many health problems he had. For years, I believed that I was simply a bad girl and bad
sister, and if anyone knew what I really had done and intentioned, I
would be disowned and then truly be alone. It took years to see the truth in that wretched place. A little girl desperate for love, affection and attention by her mother. That very day led me down a long road - years worth of self-contempt, self-loathing.
I’m thankful that story didn't end with his death caused by my ant hill plot. I’m thankful the Lord intervened that day - especially in my little heart - and that the ants didn’t
harm my brother. What saddens me now, is knowing that my hate and envy drove me to want to
commit such a crime. If I could go back and talk to my eight-year-old-self, I would tell her that I understand. That I should have some of mommy's love too.
Mostly, I hold this great sorrow. Knowing that the lack of love and affection
in my home, especially by my mother, drove me to such a despicable
Today's prompt: A favorite photo of yourself and why
There is already something magical about the air on November nights. Crisp cool, wind full of change and excitement as the holidays approach. But on this particular night, the magic surrounded me in abundance. I could feel it dancing around me like leaves blowing up from the street on their way to announce autumn's arrival.
It was a dressy affair - an engagement party for some new friends, Darin and Bethany. I was getting ready and taking extra care curling my hair and applying my make-up. There was to be wine and hors' doevers and high heels and all of it felt classy and glamorous and I remember wanting to look perfect. Bethany had gone out of her way to include me. When the invitations went out for the party, Todd was single, and after I entered the picture she wanted to make sure I knew I was welcome to come.
That would have been the first of many kind, lovely gestures from a woman who would grow to be a dear, dear friend.
Stepping out of Todd's truck, taking his hand as he looked adoringly into my eyes - I had never felt more beautiful. The night, the magic, the spark between he and I - made me feel more lovely than I had felt in my entire life. My heart, my soul, my gut knew that I was looking into the eyes of my forever man.
There was a buzz in the room that night. And though we were there to celebrate our friends, I didn't know many people there. Most people were asking about who was with Todd - who was I?Where did I come from? Everytime we were approached by someone new asking about the young woman on Todd's arm, I felt myself beam. I belonged there with this handsome man. I was special and wanted and he thought I was beautiful.
Everytime I see the picture that someone took of us from that party, it makes me smile. Our love was so young, so fresh, so exciting then. It was just the beginning of us. Only the start to our life together. Anytime a crisp November wind blows around me, I can still look into my husband's face and feel just as beautiful as that young girl did back then.
It's been seven and a half years since that night. We may have already lived through some of life's biggest roller coasters, but one thing is for sure.....the magic is most definitely still there.
Today's prompt: Something difficult about your lot in life and how you're working to overcome it.
I debated on going here. But as I thought about my "lot in life" it was the only thing that kept coming back to me. I'm overweight. And the other "O" word I hate even more - I'm obese.
You see, I decided a while back that I wasn't going to write on my blog anymore about my weight. For one, it feels kinder to myself to not write about it. I think for a long time I was trying to explain myself to the world so that strangers and even some friends, might understand why I am the way that I am. I was so insecure about my body, that I felt like I needed to constantly be sending the world the message, that "Hey - yes, I know I'm fat and I'm trying to work on this!"
But at the end of the day, why I haven't written about it in such a long time, is because mostly, it feels irrelevant. I'm simply not obsessed with trying to prove something anymore - but more importantly, I'm simply not obsessed with food.
At the beginning of 2011 I started seeing an eating disorder specialist and I went to see her for an entire year. It was some of the best money I ever spent on myself, and was definitely the care that I needed for a life-long battle with disordered eating. She gave me some tools to basically retrain my brain on how to eat and live with food in normal ways. Because of it, I have experienced more freedom in this place than I ever thought possible.
Since the very end of that year, I have been consistently normal with food. Meaning, I abide by the healthy mantra of eating she taught me of "three meals a day, and life in between." I may not always make the best choices, but I've been getting better at consciously choosing healthier meals and adding in more fruits and vegetables in to those meals.
I really have felt free though. I don't binge anymore. Occasionally, I'll overeat by a few bites if I've had something extra tasty. But, my eating is very normal. My relationship with food is by far the healthiest it's ever been - I see it for what it is - food. Nourishment. Fuel. Sometimes, very tasty and delicious fuel - but fuel, nonetheless.
After having Jacob, I think I was hoping that the weight would melt off of me. I didn't even again the weight equivalent to what he was born weighing and I was hopeful that after my pregnancy, the weight would finally start going down. I haven't gotten on the scales in while, but all of my clothes fit the same way, and I'm still in the same size that I've been for ages. It feels confusing and not fair and on the really bad days, I wonder what the point has ever been to eat normally and make healthier choices.
However, the really bad days don't look like giving up and going back to unhealthy habits and violent behaviors. Those are the places I see huge progress and want to give myself a major-high-five because I finally can be discouraged about it and NOT harm myself with food. For someone like me who would do that, and did for umpteen years, this is kind of a major deal.
Though my schedule feels scheduled to the minute these days, I try and go for a walk or something whenever some time opens up. And I'm not using it as an excuse - this working full time, with two kids thing is still kicking my butt and I'm trying to figure out how life is supposed to work everyday. Finding that balance of caring for my family, myself, my home, my husband, ministry, work and so on - sheesh! I want to exercise and I'm still trying to figure out how to work that in to everything else - my body, my heart, my everything, needs it!
All that to say, I hate that it feels like my current weight doesn't match my lifestyle anymore. My current figure doesn't match how I eat, how I live, how I think, or how I move. I'm sure a radical diet or even surgery could help me - but at the moment, I don't think that those are options that would be a kind choice for me.
I may be overweight, I may be the other detestable "o" word - but I don't let it define me. Regardless, I know what shape my heart is in, I know I make different choices, I know I am kind and that I eat normally - I know that I'm different and that I've changed, and maybe, hopefully, my body will reflect that on the outside too.
Today's prompt: A day in the life. Share your typical day.
I had such high hopes for this blog challenge. The blog everyday in May thing - it was a great idea. It is a great idea. It did however, fall during a busy season for me and I'm wishing I had more time to devote to each post.
And I thought about quitting, but that would feel like I failed at something and I want to try - even if what I have to put out there isn't as writery as I would like it to be.
A day in the life for me means having to put my longings and passions to the side because of obligation and duty and responsibility. Somehow, that feels like both a consequence and a blessing.
It's almost midnight and here I am at my computer, just now finding the time to write and reflect and breathe. It's quiet and I wish I could stretch out these moments and make them last longer as time to myself is few and far between. I've always been the kind of person to need a lot of personal time to read or pray or relax or create. When I can stop and recognize where I've been in a perpetually bad mood, it's usually because I've squeezed out all I have in me and I desperately need some time to soak something in.
A day in the life for me means that I put out every ounce of energy I have. Every moment, every second, is full of life - living, working, nourishing, doing, driving, playing, caring - it's not sitting idle. A day in the life means that if I have a few moments to watch an episode of House Hunters on HGTV, it's been a very good day.
My plate sounds full and perhaps it is. Some days it feels fuller than others though, and most days I really don't mind. I thrive on a good routine where things are consistent and predictable. Even if life is full, if I can stay somewhat organized, it doesn't feel so overwhelming.
A day in the life for me means having to make lists and to plan things - doing that makes things feel less chaotic and if life around me doesn't feel like chaos, then I tend not to create it. It means trying to find a balance for my desire to control everything and my need to be kind to myself and others - it's tricky though and I'm still figuring out what that looks like and how to extend myself and others around me grace
I'm still readjusting to this new normal - working again, having two kids, the second side job (that only requires one evening a week), youth group, church, worship team, and some attempt at a social life and hanging out with friends - and knowing my limitations. Knowing I need rest and rejuvenation and space to let my heart feel and air out.
A day in the life for me means not trying to figure out how to do it all, but just going with the flow. Tackling one day at a time. Paying attention to my needs and asking for help, turning to God when I'm feeling frustrated or overwhelmed.
A day in my life is full. Full of work. Full of sweet boys. Full of laughter and love, some chaos, and hopefully some rest too. Life is full and really, I wouldn't want it any other way.
Today's prompt: Ten things that make me really happy
#1 - Todd
He's the love of my life and my very best friend. We have our ups and downs like anyone else but being his wife, doing life with this man, and getting to kiss this handsome face every day - makes me very, very happy.
#2 - Tommy and Jacob
Who knew life with boys was so much fun? I didn't know until I had one.
And now I have two precious little guys.
Their smiles, silliness, laughter and cuddles make me oh so happy.
#3 - Time to myself
I'm all about some quiet and solitude. Whether I'm reading, journaling, drinking coffee, writing, cleaning, watching a chick-flick - I am all about some time to myself. Being able to have it keeps me sane AND happy!
#4 - Fall, fall, fall!
Fall means it's time for pumpkin everything, scarf-wearing and autumn decorating.
Though we don't have much of an autumn season here, what we do enjoy makes me happy indeed!
#5 - Earrings, necklaces, accessories galore!
I'm something of an accessory junkie.
See what I mean?
I have just a few necklaces. I refuse to name exactly how many I own. Mostly though because I've never counted.
Something about pretty things makes me happy. Based on my earring and necklace hoard, I should be very, very happy. Yes?
#6 - Throwing parties
Ya'll know I love a good party. And throwing them is something of a specialty of mine. Just a taste of parties past....
A lingerie shower.....
Tommy's 2nd birthday - beach bash style.
And yes, I threw a potty-training party.
A mustache-bash baby shower.
Patriotic themed going away party.
Another birthday party.
And our annual pumpkin carving party.
Parties are my thing. Throwing them, coming up with different ideas, and having a crowd of people over is happy, happy, happy.
#7 - Chocolate
Doesn't chocolate make everyone happy just by it's very nature?
#8 - Making wreaths
It's my favorite new hobby. I love, love, love making them. Something about yarn and felt and hot glue gives me this warm, happy feeling.
#9 - Music
Music is in my soul. It runs through my veins. I live it and breathe it and feel it. Music is my passion and my heart. All of this is the epitome of happiness.
#10 - Writing
Whether making up stories or writing poetry or venting into the pages of my journal, I have always loved writing. Something about putting pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, does more than make me happy. It nourishes me, heals me, brings me to life. Writing, sharing my heart, my thoughts, my dreams and hopes, my story - it's my very favorite thing to do. The happiest of happy places.