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

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.