Approach life gently. Treat life kindly. Live life fully and with enthusiasm.
Respect life--always.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Little Poetry To End The Year

Having done too much yesterday, trying to end the year with a clean house, I spent today a bit pensive, a bit sad. Where has this year gone? So, I decided to wind down the afternoon, the day, and the year with a nice cup of comfort.

Enjoy some poetry on this chilly afternoon, maybe with your own cup of cocoa. Go ahead. I’ll wait until you return from the kitchen.



Oh, how delightfully smooth

The delicate vapors

Wafting, floating, inhaled sweetly

Tantalizing tender buds.


Ecstasy parts company with intellect

Giddy satisfaction its only desire

Pray hold this infatuation at bay

Put such needfulness to bed.


For this heaven, so richly tempting,

Is pure bliss and blue flame

Always such pain in that first hot kiss

Be patient, my love.


Jenni Lynn

December 30, 2012





I dreamed I was a delicate flower

With petals of crimson and gold

Delight spilled from my heart

Like a sweet fragrance in summer


I dreamed of warm showers

Falling gently from a soft white sky

Each drop on my velvety petals

Turned into joyous laughter


I dreamed of being plucked

Desired, cherished, loved

Held forever in a tender embrace

I dreamed of things unspoken


I dreamed of you.


Jenni Lynn

December 11, 2012





They tell me roses are red

They tell me violets are blue

They tell me this is where I say

I love you.


Cheeks are rosiest in the winter

Tannest all summer long

Hugs are coziest beside a fire

As the radio plays our song.


Jenni Lynn

December 30, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

But I Digress

There have been two times in my life that a form of entertainment had moved me to yearn for it not to end.

One of Ken’s favorite movies is Fiddler On The Roof. Early in our marriage, he suggested we watch it. I was resistant at first. It is such a long movie. And it is a musical. I just wasn’t in the mood for all that singing.

But Ken persisted and finally won.

Once the movie began, I became glued to the screen.

And when it ended, I cried. “That can’t be all there is.”

The second time this phenomenon happened, I was the one who had to be persistent. I had long dreamed of seeing The Nutcracker Ballet live.

Ken was less than enthusiastic, but for me, he caved, and in December 2007, the 21st to be exact, we saw The Nutcracker Ballet from the best seats. We were in the second row, directly behind the orchestra box. We could see clearly that the conductor was balding, but I digress.

We could also see every muscle ripple as true artists floated across the stage.

Then it ended. I was perched on the edge of my seat, clinging to the backrest of the one in front of me. Tears streamed from my eyes. It could not be over. They surely had to come back and do an encore number.

Alas, it was over. I dried my tears and walked away.

And here we have an excellent example of why I have not been writing lately. I am clueless as to where I was headed. Yes, things end, but what specifically now?

I’ve had a bit of a relapse because of all the stress in my life. My pain is greater. My dyslexia worse. And my memory is once again Swiss cheese. I can remember things past as clear as day, as above, but I cannot remember spit about what Ken asked me two minutes ago. I have the feeling it was important, too.

Some time has passed, and I still cannot remember where this post was originally headed. If I ever do remember, I’ll get back to you.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

When It Rains

DSC02224It pours.

Sometimes life can become a bit overwhelming. Stressors can pile up without older ones being cleared away first. When these stressors build up in a chronically ill person, or even a well person for that matter, the immune system becomes compromised. In my case, having chronic Lyme, all my stressors have caused a bit of a relapse, with more migraines and pain, plus more fatigue.

My main goal this month is to reduce my stress level; however, December has never been what one might call an optimum month for my mental health status. Long story short, I do not like this Season of Joy, as it has been called.

My best friend reminded me last night that all these things I am stressing and worrying about, I can do nothing about them.  I am still taking on everyone else’s problems despite my efforts not to do just that. Besides, those I might be able to change, the desired result is a long way off. In short, stop worrying. Let go.

If I would actually like to have a Season of Joy this year and have less stress weighing on me, then I need to seek that which I desire.

Add more joy. Daily.

And take each problem as it comes, examine it as to whether it is worth my time and energy, seek solutions if within my power, then let it go.

I can look at the entire storm raging around me, angry winds stripping the trees and rain pouring down.


Or I can look at a single droplet of rain, a single moment in time.








I can choose how I see things.

I can choose whether I react or respond.

This last raindrop picture is untouched except for cropping. I like to think it is God sending me a smiley face.


Have a joyous day. And thank you to all who have been praying for us.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Break Time

IMG_0430It has been a very busy week. Very busy indeed. And as such, this post will seem to be behind the times; for the busier I get, the behinder my writing falls.

This year for Halloween, we decided to join in the fun at our church (Mountainview Christian Church) by participating in Trunk or Treat. It was great fun. Our theme was the 50s and I had made a juke box and decorated the car a bit, too. Then someone asked if I was Julia Child. My intention was simply “50s mom,” but I liked the idea of being Julia Child, so I decided to let it stick. I believe we must give credit where credit is due, and as such, credit for the Julia Child idea goes to an anonymous parent. Thank you.




Some of the other entrants were absolutely amazing. A lot of time and thought had to have gone into each one. My friends, Tim and Kristina, did an awesome job remaking Alice in Wonderland. Though, this really isn’t any wonder, knowing that Kristina is such an amazing artist to begin with. You can check out her paintings on Etsy.





The only problem with having made the decision to do Trunk or Treat was that I was also preparing for a bazaar on November 3rd, which I had had only a few days’ notice in which to get my stuff together. I was cramming to get products made, and I was cramming to get costumes pulled together. Meanwhile, I was also cramming to get my homework done for my Friday night class at Renew. And, I had also made the decision to go see my dad in the midst of all this chaotic busy-ness.



And of course, right in the middle of it all, I worked myself into a physical setback by trying too hard and doing too much.

When we arrived home on Saturday evening, after having spent the entire day working at the bazaar, my legs gave out as I climbed the steps onto the porch. From there, it was all downhill. I slept, or rather I was in bed, delirious with pain and exhaustion, for the next 36 hours.

This morning found me slightly better, well enough to focus my mind on this simple task, at least. I could easily sleep another full day or two away, if it weren’t for my pesky drive. I cannot remain idle for too long. I feel guilty if I let things slide, or if I depend on others to do for me. I have always tried to hide my pain and my exhaustion from the world, but I can no longer hide what is so prevalent in my life. Unfortunately, all this guilt and hiding and unrelenting pain leads to a vicious cycle of try and fail and try and fail again, when my body cannot keep up with my drive and desire.

Putting a positive spin on it, however, I had a great week. I had a blast putting together costumes and seeing all those little kids dressed up. I had a wonderful lunch with my father and my son, three generations, having good conversation and laughter. I thoroughly enjoyed the creation process as I feverishly worked to make enough hats for the bazaar. During the bazaar, I enjoyed talking with many people whom I had not seen in a long while. And I really enjoyed seeing my photos and my creations displayed for sale.




Monday, October 22, 2012

Smile, and I Will Get By

IMG_0308The chill which is Portland Fall is officially upon us. I woke up crying this morning. All my joints felt as if they had been stretched beyond their limits, snapped back, and then twisted mercilessly. The chill was quick to set into my bones this year, quicker than any past. It is going to take a miracle to get me through another winter in Oregon.

I will definitely miss summer.

Oh, that magical season when my joints are nice and limber. Always in pain, but nice and limber in the summer, just the same.

This really isn’t that great of a picture of me, taken a few months ago, but I chose it to make a point. Once upon a time I was as flexible as a . . . well, maybe I will let your imagination run a bit. And I can still get into some awkward positions, even at my size and age. Now, bring your imagination back. I didn’t mean for it to go that far!


At any rate, I will miss summer.


Sometimes, no matter what we do, we just cannot get past the pain.

We cannot blink the tears away.

We cannot kiss all the boo boos bye bye.

We simply cannot wish away the pain, no matter how hard we try.

Sometimes, all we can do is distract ourselves, minute by minute, hopefully in healthy ways.



My art is my distraction. Along with the larger pieces I am working on, I have dabbled lately in some whimsy.


Whimsy is good for the soul, good for pain. So is laughing. Smiling. Hugging. Kissing. (Oops. Did I say that out loud?)

Can’t you just picture Charlie Chaplin as he sings about smiling through his pain? Hey, you don’t have to envision! Here’s a Youtube video for you to check out. It isn’t mine, but I thought you might enjoy it.

Smile, Charlie Chaplin

Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it is breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You’ll get by…

If you smile
With your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You will find that life is still worthwhile
If you just…

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That is the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what is the use of crying
You will find that life is still worthwhile
If you just…

Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it is breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You’ll get by…

If you smile
Through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You will find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile…

That is the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what is the use of crying
You will find that life is still worthwhile


Blessings for a pain-free day, or at least one filled with laughter.

Love, Jenni Lynn

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Poppy and The Pod

PA140229I wrote the following in the wee hours of this morning, before all the pain and exhaustion from such a busy weekend caught up to me. Before the natural high wore off, allowing all that pain to return, as I emotionally let down my guard.

Please read it as a prayer and a dedication I am making into my new life. I have been struggling with where God wants me, what He wants me to do with my life. Through months or searching and prayer, I may be getting close to His dream for me. And as you know, His dreams for us don’t always line up with our own. His dreams eclipse ours, outshine ours unlike nothing we could ever have imagined.

Thank you for being my readers. May God bless you as He has blessed me.

Love, Jenni Lynn



October 15, 2012

Yesterday I found myself back within my element. Talking with even more likeminded people. Listening. Learning. Absorbing. Stretching. Growing.


I found myself back at Wordstock. The Oregon Convention Center. On the escalators, beneath the giant poppies. I stopped to study these gigantic glass ornaments. They catch the backlight and come aglow. My eyes shift toward the top of the escalator. A large alien-looking green pod sits alone. Closed to the outside world. Heavy and dull. Frightening in its obscurity.


Within this space, this element of mine, I stretch my bubble. I poke it in all directions. I open my eyes to all the possibilities. The learning. The conversations. And then I act. Like a real person. A real woman. A real writer. A real illustrator. A person of good, strong character. I act and feel how I have always believed normal people act and feel every day.

Within this space, this element of mine, I am the poppy, unfurling my colors before the sun. I am no longer the pod, so full of potential but ever frozen in time.

I have no excuses for my past. I will no longer rely on qualifying statements about my efforts.


This is me. Living within my joy.

Head held high. Smile broad and bright.

Eagerness pouring from my every cell.

And love.




This is me. Having the courage to step out in faith.

Trusting God has my back.

My front.

My every footfall.


This is me. Meeting the real me.

Enjoying the discovery process.

Seeking only His opinion of me.

Desiring to live up to His vision of me.


This is me. Living in love.

Loving God. Loving myself. Finally loving myself.

Trusting His love won’t abandon me.

His truths won’t fade away or change.


This is me. Living in trust.

Humbled to be chosen.

Accepting forgiveness when I fail.

Relaxing into the ocean of His truth.

Closing my eyes and allowing His miracles to wash over me.


This is me, Lord.

The me you made me to be.


Coffee in one hand, cheese-covered guilt in the other. Candy wrappers stuffed hastily in my pocket. You know this about me, and yet you still love me. You still have compassion and not pity for me. You still want glorious things of me and for me. Nothing I do can make you stop loving me. No matter how much I act out or feel like a failure. Nothing.

Like the flood rushing down from the mountains with the spring rains, no dam can hold back or cut off your love. It will wash over me. Drown me in peace and grace. Fill my lungs with righteousness. Only you can love me like this.

Nothing. And only you. Unconditional love at its finest. It is you or nothingness. And no matter how difficult it has been to grasp your depth of love, I cannot begin to fathom nothingness. I pray I never have to.

Teach me, Lord. Teach me speak. Teach me your ways. Put the correct words in my mouth and lead me to the correct actions. Make me aware of you, always. Do not count me among the Israelites who asked never to see your face or hear your voice ever again. Teach me speak, as only you can. I long to hear your voice, feel your presence. Your nearness.

Let me rise and do great things in your name, but keep me humble so that I may stay in your presence and not let conceit destroy me.

There is a brisk clip to my gait as I carry out these joys. These promises you’ve given me. I no longer feel like a fake. No longer on the fringe of life and love. No longer self-marginalized. You’ve instilled confidence in my heart.

I turn my flush petals to your brightness, seeking and accepting your warmth and love. Thank you. Thank you seems inadequate. I love you. Even my love seems inadequate compared to yours.

I am yours. I am your poppy.

No longer the pod.


My life comes aglow only with your illumination.

I live to carry out your desires.

I live to ring your quiet bell of grace.


I long to hear the trumpets that signal all hope.


Love, Jenni Lynn

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Living My Joy

PA130221One day, I shall sit in one of these red chairs, and I shall read aloud from my own published work.

Today I spent the day in my element, amongst likeminded people, talking words. Style. Prose. Genre. Today I attended Wordstock at the Oregon Convention Center. It was the first year I actually made it, having had a multitude of excuses over the past several years. Pain. Exhaustion. Depression. Anxiety. Fear. No one to go with.

Well, last night I was in severe pain, and I woke up in a great amount of pain, too. So we can scratch that excuse off the list. I made the conscious decision sometime during the night to not allow my pain to have that much power and authority in my day. It would be nice if I could keep that attitude for life, never wavering, but one day at a time is good, and at least for today the pain did not have me, even though I had pain.

I was determined to  go to Wordstock with or without pain. I did my best to sleep last night, and I ate a complete and balanced breakfast to keep my energy up. I would not let exhaustion control my day, either.

Emotionally, I have felt fairly well, other than my stress level being too high. No depression. Some normal sadness, but no major depression. This is a great thing. Anxiety seems to be creeping back into my life, but I am taking steps to deal. Being proactive and having a plan can make all the difference in the world when it comes to emotional stability. These, too, cannot be excuses. Absolutely cannot, as part of my proactive plan.

Even with my determination, my drive, sometimes I can be derailed, and all the positive talk and proactive efforts in the world cannot help me get out of bed on those mornings.

Talk about having to live in the moment. Taking one day at a time to the full extent of the meaning.

But now I am getting off on a painful tangent. Sarcastic smile

This morning I arrived at the Oregon Convention Center bright and early. I did not even let the timing of my first class (9 a.m.) deter me. I went alone, which was actually probably the best for me because I was able to get totally absorbed in every conversation and every class discussion, without worrying about where so-and-so was or if they were bored.

I had the most awesome day, and I was definitely in my element. What does being in my element look like?

  • confident
  • determined
  • goal oriented
  • willing to step outside my comfort zone
  • stepping outside my comfort zone without even thinking about it
  • constantly smiling
  • patient with those around me
  • extra loving and helpful, even to total strangers
  • not concerned about what others might think
  • willing and able to ask for what I need without anxiety or fear that they will say no
  • joy fills my heart

It is an amazing gift that God has given me, this ability to live within my joy instead of constantly chasing it and always falling short.

Thank you, Lord, for this amazing day.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dammit Anyway!

PA080220I picked up this cute Dammit Doll last weekend from a church rummage sale just down the street from our home. In fact I found a lot of cool stuff and books, but I won’t bore you with what I am reading these days (Hunger Games trilogy) (True Faced) (The Bible).

Maybe I could do a few book  and web reviews in another post, but not today.

The note around her neck reads,

When you want to climb the walls

or stand right up and shout

Here’s a little dammit doll

you cannot do without.

Just grab it firmly by the legs

and find a place to slam it

And as you whack the stuffing out,


It would come in really handy right about now, if only I had the strength to wield such a tool today.

This past week held several doctor’s appointments, and more than several medication changes. And if you know me personally or know Lyme disease in general, then you realize that medication changes bring a worsening of symptoms before things start to improve. Dammit, anyway. For the Lymie, the saying, “It is darkest before the dawn,” is lived out every time we make strives toward a healthier life. Even increasing activity/exercise in the Lymie’s life can cause an undue amount of pain and fatigue, until the Lymie’s body adjusts to the new level of activity, or totally craps out. It is no fun having your legs give out beneath you and being unable to get back up, until strength and control returns to you. Very frightening, indeed.

It becomes more and more difficult to push through these dark, painful times, even though I know the improvement will come. No matter how slowly the improvement seems to come, and it does seem to be at a snail’s pace, I can see the improvement, over the larger picture.

And now I find myself getting deeper and more philosophical than I had wanted to be this morning. (I need to save that for this afternoon, when I finish my study of Micah.) So, in getting back to a lighthearted mood, here’s my dammit list, plain and simple:

  • Dammit. The basement flooded again. That’s what we get for living in a really old house with really old plumbing.
  • Dammit. We cannot winter in Arizona with the other snowbirds. I believe the change of climate would do my SAD (seasonal affective disorder) great wonders, maybe even eradicate it.
  • Dammit. I have so much to do, but I must take care of myself during this time, first and foremost, and either place all else on hold or delegate.
  • Dammit. I didn’t lose more than four pounds over the last several months. Only four. I guess that little bit of walking I was doing every day did make a difference.
  • Dammit. Finances.
  • Dammit space issues/cramped quarters.
  • Dammit. Dammit. Dammit.
  • Dammit anyway.

So, since I cannot swing the Dammit Doll without hurting myself worse, I shall have to let it all go. Let God take it and let God love me through this.

Lord, I release all my troubles to Your capable hands. Thank You for loving me even when I least deserve it, even when I say dammit. Thank You, Lord, for being my Savior. Amen.

P.S. To our beloveds in California: We may just have to fly down this year, maybe even for the holidays. How does that sound?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

These Hands

DSC01456A few days ago, these hands fed me Chinese food, with only the use of chopsticks.

Since my early years, these hands have been able to draw and paint and create. Their abilities have always amazed me.

Through these fingers, my words flow into the computer.

These hands have held and caressed and cherished and loved many babies and wonderful people throughout my lifetime.

Yet today, these hands struggle with holding a spoon.

These hands cannot grasp a pencil, let alone a paint brush.

And every reach for a letter on this keyboard sends shooting pain through my hands and wrists.

The above words bring tears to my eyes and frustration to my heart, when I think about all I could do, if God would just release me from this pain.

Yet if I think about it, again referencing the above list, maybe my pain serves the purpose of allowing me more time to carry out the most important thing on the list, for these hands can still hold and love others, even in their current state of pain.

Thank you, Lord, for enlightening me. For, I sat down here at this computer keyboard to whine and moan about my troubles, and You showed me Your goodness and guided my hands to type what I really needed to hear this morning. I love You and how You weave Your amazing truths into my small life. Amen.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

What a Month!

SONY DSC                       I really don’t know where the time has gotten to. It seemed like we were still in August just yesterday, and now here we are on the last day of September. What happened?

I shall tell you.

First, it has been harvest season, and the abundance has kept me busy. I’ve told you already about the pears our gracious neighbor down the street gave us. Well, we have also received tomatoes, onions, and beets from friends and neighbors.

The blessings continue, and I am so humbled and overwhelmed by the love, Jesus’s love, I feel coming through all these people in my life.

Friday was a very good day for me, emotionally and pain-wise. So I decided that my guys deserved an awesome supper. I made cioppino, which was amazing, as usual. I also canned salsa Friday.

Saturday, I still had too many tomatoes lying around, and so they went into the oven to be roasted for tomato soup. You can find the recipe in one of my other blog posts, here. There were so many tomatoes that once roasted and pureed, they had to go into the freezer for those cold winter nights we know are on their way. It will be wonderful, come November or December, to pull out a container of roasted tomato puree, add the chicken broth and evaporated milk, and viola! Dinner is served!

But that’s not all. No, that’s not all.

Our good friends and neighbors got married a week ago. –And it has taken me this long to recuperate. Ken and I prepared most of the wedding banquet—an amazing Mexican feast including the best Spanish rice Ken has ever made (about 6 gallons of it in total), carnitas (50 pounds before cooking), pork and nopales in red sauce (3 gallons worth), potato salad (3 gallons), salsa (3 gallons), refried beans (4 gallons), and enough fruit to fill our second refrigerator. No, we never did get rid of it, but in all honesty, it sat, unplugged, until just before the wedding. I am glad we still had it available. Frankly, I cannot remember what else was on the menu, except homemade tortilla chips. It took me two days to make those silly things, there were so many, and yet people gobbled them up like there was no tomorrow. That’s the only thing I would have been concerned about running out of, had more people shown up. As it was, there was a great crowd.

Thank you for allowing me a little break from writing. Thank you for blessing me with your readership. I am grateful for all.

And now, some pictures. Oh, I forgot to say that while I wasn’t refilling the buffet (since my teenaged helpers disappeared), I was also the wedding photographer. The ceremony took place in their back yard. Enjoy a little taste of Oregon, Mexico style!



This was after the melons were peeled and sliced and put in the restaurant tubs in the bottom. The pitchers on the top to the right are agua de fresca, another menu item I forgot to mention, 3 gallons, saved mostly for immediate family.


The pork and nopales (cactus).



There was a live band and dancing half the night.


Since the entire family was there, which as you know can be difficult to achieve with today’s busy lives, I took family portraits during the wedding as well. Not just the newlyweds and her  kids, but all the brothers and their families too, and then the next generation too, since my friend has grand-babies. I must admit, however, that by the end of the evening, as the band was getting packed up, I had to grab someone to get a pic of me and my guys, since we were all dressed up. Considering this picture was taken around ten at night, I think I look pretty darn good still.


Of all the pictures, this one has to win the award for the most touching moment, between uncle and niece, as he fixed her ribbons before the portraits were taken.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Blessings Abound

IMG_0187Okay, so this hasn’t been the best week for creating works of art. It is becoming more difficult. I am not lacking imagination, but I am definitely running short on supplies and money to replace them.

Darn medical bills. And other bills. I pray for my son to get a job so that things won’t be so tight, but so far no such luck. It is difficult, three adults living on one retirement income. I am thankful we are here to help my son now when he needs us most. And I am thankful he is here to help us, too. If only we didn’t need to eat so often . . .

Even so, I count my blessings daily. And they do come daily.

I prayed for less pain when doing my writing and artwork, and my best friend and her boss gave me an office chair so that I would not have to sit in an uncomfortable kitchen chair.

Our Jeep broke down. I prayed to God that I did not know what we were going to do. He answered my prayers by arranging for another good friend to lend us their second car.

I prayed more about how we would be able to afford to fix the Jeep. Yet another friend stepped in to offer his free labor and know-how. Still praying about the cost of parts, but I feel confident in the Lord’s workings.

Out of the blue, a neighbor a few houses down offered us a lug and a half of pears from his tree. He even picked them for us. I am very thankful for his generosity. Once canned, they will provide fruit for us through the winter. (That’s my son’s best friend William [another blessing] helping me sort the pears. There’s nothing wrong with our skin; it is dappled shadowing from the umbrella.)


Our neighbors in the other half of the duplex have also been a godsend. They are getting married in a few weeks, and knowing our talents, they have hired us to cook the wedding feast, design the invitations (below), and photograph the wedding. I will also be doing a family portrait for them. This could not come at a better time for us, financially.


There are so many blessings, large and small, in our lives right now. All this brings me to tears. The love we’ve been shown by friends and strangers alike, it overwhelms me.

Another blessing is that our apple tree produced its first abundant crop. From half the apples, I made three pies, and I still have the other half of the honey crisps to munch or to make more pies.

Being gluten intolerant, I made these pies with a sugar cookie crust and a crisp topping. They are amazingly tasty.


I have only managed a few finished pieces this past week, though I have been drawing and have come up with plenty of sketches to paint later, once I can replace some of my supplies.

The imagination is a wonderful thing. As I was painting yard sale signs for Ken, I asked if I could have a few of the smaller plywood boards. These, I will paint upon with acrylics. Below, Ken is adding a second coat of base paint for me. Of course I had the tough job of sanding them smooth, myself!


All the family gets in on the action.


After all the week’s work and prayers and praises, it’s no wonder Tink and I passed out last night.