October 3, 2019

Cheeseburgers in Paradise


To those of you who have been adulting for more than seven minutes...
When someone shows their appreciation for a kind act or job well done,
are you more or less likely to repeat your appreciated behavior?

⏹ I would be more inclined to repeat behavior, knowing my efforts are being
recognized and appreciated. 
⏹ Another person's appreciation of my work or activities has no bearing
on my performance level. 

Regardless of your own response, being in a healthy relationship means
knowing how your partner would answer this question.
If you're a person who requires daily affirmations from others and
your partner has never once thanked you for sending his mother a
birthday card (from him) for the past 11 years.
Without feeling appreciated, over time you may start to feel
taken for granted, maybe even bitter. 

Here's where it gets personal. 

Our family has been undergoing major changes over the past year,
the majority of which are confidential until they're not.
If you're close to us, you know what's up.
To say we have a few pans in the fire is fairly appropriate.
Lots of stress. Not all stress is bad. Self-care is possible. Yadda, yadda.

Today the hubby and I were discussing life, as it were, recalibrating our pages,
prioritizing fires, and an argument ensued.
Really, what's the likelihood of someone raising their voice,
being stubborn or reacting emotionally disproportionately in a home
where 86% of the residents have some form of PTSD (jury is still out on the service dog)?

But hey.
It bonds us. 
We get each other.
We're honest about our crap.
We help each other. 
We love each other.

Somewhere amidst this intense discussion with the hubby, I did receive his message.
He was feeling unappreciated for his contributions to our home.
My response was an encouraging, "welcome to my world."
Obviously not my proudest wife moment.

The truth is, my husband does more than he physically and medically is able to,
and I know with certainty that I'm not the only one in our home who appreciates him.
I'm just here to tell my husband, in this public forum, how truly appreciated he is. 

Babe, you're seriously my rock. I couldn't manage this circus without you.
I wouldn't want to. I appreciate you so much. 

I really wish I could give you the gift of an orthopedic referral from the VA,
but I might have my sights set too high.
So instead of, or until that happens, I will just thank you from the bottom of my heart
for everything you do for our family.
I love you infinitely and appreciate your guts out. (In this house, that's actually a thing...)

Thank you for carrying the load when I can't, and sharing it when I can. 

#herniateddisc #communitycare #missionactION #wearefamily #endthestigma #angusburgermeanslove

LOVE cheeseburger, inspired by the chef of all burger creations - my husband

Shot Through the Heart cheeseburger, inspired by Bon Jovi

Don't Worry Be Happy cheeseburger, inspired by Bobby McFerrin

This Kiss cheeseburger, inspired by Faith Hill

El Fuego, inspired by the idea we had s'mores supplies on-hand.
S'mores bummer.
Great fire though.

Future Jesus Warriors, inspiration from God

March 31, 2019

Retaking the Entry

Having six people in the house means twelve feet and a LOT of shoes.

Our entryway opens directly into our dining room. So, we have no separate mud room to hide all the shoes, boots, coats, mittens, hats and snow pants associated with endless Minnesota winters.

Recently, we ditched our cubby bench which was great for holding all sorts of things. However, it had puppy chew marks, was falling apart from years of overuse, and really didn't float my boat where aesthetics are concerned. Functional, yes. Eyesore, definitely.

Something different was needed, so I decided on a white IKEA Hemnes shoe cabinet and a Hemnes bench with shoe storage.

My inspiration from the IKEA catalog:


I seldom buy retail (it's a genetic thing learned from my grandmother), but IKEA's unassembled prices are pretty low. If you've never assembled IKEA furniture, there's a certain frustration level you may want to factor into your purchase equation. For some people, it's worth the time and effort. Others swear against it (some swear during it). I've assembled plenty of IKEA items in my day. I wouldn't hire myself out as an assembler, but I'm definitely glad when I'm finished.

The plastic inserts in this Hemnes cabinet allow for 12 pairs of shoes, or you can remove a divider to fit boots also. The pure joy of not having to look at shoes scattered everywhere was worth the assembly time for me personally. Added Bonus: My dining room gallery wall is finally finished, which has been a long time coming. Major checkmark on the to-do list.

For safety's sake, there are two boards on the back side of the cabinet which get screwed directly into your wall, so make sure you have it where it will make you happy for quite some time. Or patch accordingly.

You'll also find a drawer at the top of this cabinet, useful for keys, cell phones, or other items which quickly add to the accumulation of clutter. If you like to clean right before company comes over, you'll love this drawer. Open, sweep clutter in, close. Aaahhhhh.....

Here's how my space turned out:

Thanks for reading!
Jenn  シ

December 29, 2018

Missing the Point?

SPOILER ALERT: This article may reveal a brief amount of content, context or storyline found in the music video: Someone I Used to Know.

If you follow country music, you may have heard that the Zac Brown Band recently released what some are calling an "intense" music video to accompany his new single, Someone I Used to Know.

The "intensity" that has folks all hot and bothered is an adult scene that opens the video. The commentary from folks online says they can't understand the point of a sex scene in an otherwise amazing video and therefore, most will not share it with others.

Here are the stats:
Video length = 4 minutes 35 seconds
"Sex scene" = 3 seconds

I'm not here to justify, make up your own mind. That's what art is about. 
Just be an adult, listen to the message Zac Brown is sending out, which he also explains at the end of the video. Sometimes, in order to break the stigma, you need to get people's attention.

Kudos to you, ZBB

Video includes adult content 
Click to Watch  > >  VIDEO: Someone I Used to Know

Global Statistics
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Almost 75% of people with mental disorders remain untreated in developing countries with almost 1 million people taking their lives each year. In addition, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 13 globally suffers from anxiety. The WHO reports that anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders worldwide with specific phobia, major depressive disorder and social phobia being the most common anxiety disorders.

Source: World Health Organization: Mental Health

November 5, 2018

Shine the Light. End the Stigma

For Everyone Who Keeps Asking
"What's Wrong?"

I’m sorry.

I know those two words seem so small, and they are. They are nothing more than seven simple letters, but I don’t know where else to start. So I’ll start with:  I’m sorry.

There are things I’m not sorry for, things I can’t be sorry for. I’m not sorry for my illnesses. They are beyond my control. Over the decades, I’ve learned I do have complete control over certain things in my life: my calendar, my choice of events to attend, and who is included in my inner circle.

To those of you who (hopefully) never have to personally deal with physical struggles such as fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, and/or mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder – sincere blessings to you. Chances are, you don’t have to look very far to find someone close to you who struggles daily with some kind of chronic condition.

When we don’t talk about these things, we contribute to the stigma which exists worldwide. I’m not suggesting sharing your most personal life details with everyone you meet at the grocery store, but please… talk to someone; preferably a qualified professional. Keeping it all bottled inside will destroy you and the lives of those around you.

So, here we are to talk about some things. Over the past few years, my health has been in decline, specifically more over the recent few months. Quite honestly, the specific details and diagnoses aren’t the point. If you’re close to me, you already know. Raging fibromyalgia, migraines, chronic fatigue, yada, yada. If you haven’t seen me attend many events, it’s likely because I am laid flat out in bed (or couch) surrounded by heating blankets, heating pads, prescription and over-the-counter meds, FDA approved and non-approved treatments… To say I’m trying everything would be an understatement.

And although a physical disorder is “easier” to explain, emotional and mental health disorders seldom get discussed, and rarely honestly. Maybe your family didn’t talk about “these things” when you were growing up. Maybe you’re a parent now and think you’re sparing your child by not having honest conversations about feelings and pain. I can’t say, I can only speak for myself and my own life experiences.

I will say that I’m sorry for the years I’ve wasted feeling sorry for myself. I’m sorry for the years I’ve tried to hide my depression, migraines, anxiety, to keep those things secret.

That very secrecy has been our undoing. I’ve pushed friends and family away, though they never knew why, or even noticed. You may not have even realized the canceled plans, birthday parties I failed to attend and social gatherings I forced myself to go to. It wasn’t your fault.

You thought I was a buzzkill (and I was), but what hurts me the most — what I’m most sorry for — is that you thought I was too good for you, too good for “child-like” games. But that was never the case. The truth is I want to be happy. I want nothing more than to laugh beside you and enjoy myself the way you do, but there’s a disconnect somewhere and I can’t. Sure, there are moments of happiness and joy, but most of my life is about just getting by. So instead of pretending, I pulled away — from you and from life.

I’m sorry for not being present, for not celebrating in your successes and joys. Please know I wanted to but sometimes the pain held me back — sometimes emotional pain, sometimes physical pain, usually both.

Please don’t mistake what I’m saying for an attempt for your sympathy, I am not interested in anyone feeling sorry for me. My weakness is muscular, my strength is spiritual. I learned early in life to fight and fight hard, and that has served me well. I was blessed with grandparents who knew the value of hard work, strong faith, generosity and the importance of family. Those are values I carry on with my own children and grandchildren, through the struggles. That’s what family means to me.

To my patient loving husband, who had no idea what he was signing on for, I am so very sorry. I’m sorry for the times my temper has been short, and you’ve been the recipient of my rage. Anger has been the most unexpected symptom of this ride. When I was younger, my depression was marked by melancholy. But as the years passed, the symptoms shifted. While sadness still infuses most days, it’s the anger I cannot ignore. It’s the anger that scares me. My volatile words cut you and my blind and unforgiving rage injures you.

And I am truly sorry. I also pray that every single woman out there finds a man like this. The kind who steps up.

It’s embarrassing and scary to admit you need help, to admit you are not OK. You know once you let your secret out you’ll have no choice but to follow through with therapy. You’ll have to talk to friends and family about your illness, even when you don’t want to. You know you can’t close the curtains and hide anymore, and that thought is terrifying.

Sometimes we “find the light” and make it out. I have before; in fact, I have survived electroconvulsive shock therapy [ECT] treatments that stole an entire year from my memory. My children were 4, 7 and 8 at the time and needed their mom. Fuck you, ECT. You didn’t beat me.

I know better than to believe I’m better. Depression is a lifelong disease, and my depression will return. There is nothing I can do to stop it. The only thing I can control is how I handle it when it does. And for me, handling it means not hiding from it; handling it means drawing back the shades and doing my part to end the stigma.

So to everyone entangled in this mess with me, I’m sorry. I never wanted to hurt you or drag you through this 20+ year nightmare. I love you for standing by me, and hope you still can, but I also understand if you need to step back — if you need to walk away. Please know I will love you all the same.

God takes the darkest moments from our past and turns them into the most beautiful stories of our lives. 

Adapted and inspired from Kimberly Zapata

December 24, 2017

12 Days of Christmas Artisan Giveaway: WINNER!

Our 12 Days of Christmas Artisan Giveaway has wrapped up, and the entries have been tallied. With the most entries, I'd like to congratulate WILL GRIESMER on winning the entire prize package, valued at over $300. Way to go, Will! Those daily tweets really put you over the top.

Thanks to everyone who participated, all the artisans and vendors had great fun connecting with you. Next year, we'll be back with more exciting goodies so stay tuned.

Merry Christmas to each one of you. Safe travels this holiday season.

Huckleberry Row

December 23, 2017

Airbnb Adventures + free money

I adore travel.

Any chance I get, I'm searching for the best plane fares, plotting out a road trip route or looking for interesting sites to visit.

A few years ago, my husband and I took a weekend road trip to Clear Lake, Iowa. Yes, Iowa. Clear Lake, Iowa is home to the Surf Ballroom. If you've never read about The Surf, check it out HERE. Visiting the Surf Ballroom in person is a somewhat religious experience, especially if you're familiar with 50s and 60s music. Definitely worth the trip.

The town of Clear Lake is completely adorable. We stayed at an Airbnb rental which was a small home with a nice master bedroom, full kitchen, living and dining rooms, upstairs full of beds for guests, really everything we needed. Located only two blocks from the lake, we walked around chatting with the friendly locals. We hit a fabulous coffee shop, mercantile store and even got lucky at the farmer's market (located in the Surf parking lot).

Here's the kicker: Our Airbnb cost only $60/night!

If you have future travel plans, anywhere from Clear Lake, Iowa to Lake Tjornin in Reykjavik, Iceland, check out Airbnb. They're everywhere!

If you sign up for Airbnb, I'll even contribute $40 toward your first adventure.

Here’s my invitation link: https://abnb.me/e/dBBAlqB56I

Adventure awaits you.

December 18, 2017

12 Days of Christmas Artisan Spotlight: Dotty's Artisanal Soap and Treasures

Throughout the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway, we will "spotlight" the artisans who have graciously donated items for the prize package. Please join me in visiting these artisans, makers and vendors through their various websites (below).

And don't forget to enter for your chance to win the prize package, valued at $300! Details >> HERE <<. Good luck! :)

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your business:

My name is Dorothy Redner, my business is Dotty’s Artisanal Soap and Treasures. I'm from Michigan but now reside in beautiful middle Tennessee. I started creating bath and body products for my family to get away from all the chemicals in commercial products. In growing in my knowledge, I have found that homemade bath and body products offer so much more such as lots of skin loving ingredients that leave your skin feeling amazing.

Giveaway Items:

Handmade Goat Milk Artisanal Soap & Fizzy Cupcakes

Retail value of your item(s): $65

How can people connect with you?

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dottysartisanalsoap/shop
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/momof5bk/