Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Aunt Darrelyn tells beautiful stories.  She's my favorite writer & I adore her.  She inspires me to nurture the writer within.  And she makes the best book recommendations.  When she told me about a local event, featuring author Silas House, I jumped at the chance to go.  (You can read her guest posts for Writer's Digest here, including her wise advice to attend book events).

She recommended I start with his first novel, Clay's Quilt.  Simply put, it's a story of the bonds of kin & home, set in the glorious mountains of Kentucky.  I relate to the heartache & struggles of Clay, a young man who lost his mother Anneth when he was four years old.  Anneth's character reminds me of my mom; her beautiful, adventurous spirit taken from her family far too soon.

I love a Southern accent.  The spoken words flow like a friendly song.  I suppose it stems from my love for my Louisiana family.  I hear the voice of my momma when they speak to me.  My boring voice longs to imitate each enunciation.

So I was happy just to hear Silas talk, enjoying his Kentucky accent.  He introduced the story, explaining he writes to find answers to questions within himself.  I had never put it into words myself, but it's the same reason I write.  (It's why I often write about my mom or mother loss & my struggles with Endometriosis).  He read from his latest novel, Eli the Good.  There's nothing like hearing an author read his/her own words.  His reading hooked me; it's going to the top of my everlasting to-read list.

After he spoke & answered a few questions, I anxiously got in line to meet him.  I was compelled to ask if he had lost his mother at a young age, since his story eloquently described the pain of a bereaved child.  He explained his uncle was murdered when Silas was a child, and he drew on those memories for Clay's character.  He thought for a moment, then said his mother had lost her mother when she was nine years old.  He'd always felt sorrow for his mother.  His expression changed as I watched a realization occur to him--his grandmother's death had influenced Clay's character.  He said it hadn't occurred to him until just that moment.  I shared my loss with him & praised his depiction of mother loss.  He signed my book & humbly thanked me for coming out to meet him.

When I got to my car, I carefully turned to the signed page to find these sweet words:
"For Jenny,
I'm glad this book is in good hands.
Silas House"

my very own copy

Thanks for sharing this with me Aunt Darrelyn!


Monday, November 22, 2010

After all the anticipation, I got my first post-surgery period on September 25th.  I was hoping for at least one pain-free menstruation, but that's not how it turned out.  I'm not complaining, though.  It was definitely better than it had been for many months prior to surgery.

My body seems to be adjusting to life with only one ovary.  I started menstruating on October 24th (29 day cycle) & November 19th (26 day cycle).  They arrived with the all-too-familiar symptoms--moodiness, bloating, aching back & cramping.  All I want to do is curl up in my comfy pjs & lounge alone with my heating pad.  And shed a few tears, at random, until I feel better.  You know, the usual reclusive routine.

It's hard not to worry.  I try to dissuade the clamor of questions in my mind:  How fast will the endo grow?  Will my right ovary remain healthy?  Should I have gotten a complete hysterectomy?...

Since worry & stress can only make matters worse, I'm trying to stay positive & calm.  It's easier said than done, though.  

 hermit mode


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Love, Love, Love

I'm still smiling, basking in the hope & inspiration of Love Beats Hate.  As I read the posts & comments, I hear the harmony of our voices, telling the universal story of love.  

I emphatically agree with the participant who tweeted, "I see #lovebeatshate as a movement more than an event."  And we aren't the only ones.  I anticipate Love Beats Hate evolving beyond a one-day event. (It already has!).

Here's a link to the list of Love Beats Hate bloggers.  Or you can find the collection here.     

You can join the conversation on twitter and facebook & share your thoughts about the movement.  Together, we can continue to make a positive impact & share the love.

Thanks Friendos!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Love Beats Hate

Dear Friendos,

Thank you for visiting & supporting the Love Beats Hate blogging event today!   My sincere gratitude to Jeanne & Diana for their hard work organizing the event.  Thank you to all of the participating bloggers & everyone who helped spread the love. You rock.

I've been thinking for days about the power of love in anticipation for today's post.  I recalled an organization I discovered a few years ago while researching for my thesis on mother loss.  The nonprofit organization Mommy's Light Lives On was started by Mary Murphy, a mother facing terminal cancer, who wanted to help her son prepare for life without her.  Together, they decided he would continue a family tradition each year in her memory--baking Christmas cookies.  Mary knew continuing this fun tradition would comfort her son in her absence.  She was inspired to share this idea with other bereaved families & started the Mommy's Light Lives On Fund in October 1997.  Sadly, Mary passed away two & a half months later.

Maintaining Mary's vision, Mommy's Light has continued to grow over the years.  Their mission statement (taken from their website) is:
"Mommy's Light brings joy and comfort to children and teens by helping them keep alive traditions and simple pleasures they shared with their mothers.  To support young people in adapting to their mothers' illnesses or deaths, Mommy's Light's key initiatives include: (1) free Tradition Fulfillment Services to eligible children and teens; and (2) the development and distribution of education and outreach materials targeting grieving children and the adults who are likely to interact with them." 

Mommy's Light volunteers meet with the children & families to discuss their fondest traditions.  They pay attention to the details of the memories in order to recreate their custom in the most meaningful way.  Traditional fulfillment services keep memories alive & provide comfort & support to children as they grieve.  They provide a way for bereaved children to feel close to their mothers & continue important family activities in their absence.  It opens the dialog for children to talk about their moms & the feelings they are experiencing.  You can click here to read some of the beautiful traditions facilitated by Mommy's Light.

The outreach materials are another invaluable service to families.  There is a silence that tends to surround children who have lost their mother.  The adults in their lives are also grieving a tremendous loss.  It is important to know how to talk & interact with bereaved children to help them process their grief and learn to live with their loss.

I understand the impact of mother loss; my mom died when I was five years old.  I vividly remember the silence & loneliness that accompanied my loss.  I quickly realized how uncomfortable my situation made others.  No one knew what to say or do, so usually they said & did nothing.  I'm not complaining.  It wasn't that they didn't care.  They avoided the topic to protect me.  And I seemed fine on the outside.  I learned to deal with my grief & pain in silence.  So I can imagine the comfort the tradition fulfillment service & outreach education would have brought to me & my family.

 My Momma & Me

I am so inspired by the love left behind by Mary Murphy.  She created a legacy of love, not only for her son, but for numerous other grieving children & families.

This is an amazing example of how communities, both in-person & online, can offer support & love to those in need.  When I was a child, I wasn't able to search for online communities & information to help me deal with losing my mom.  Instead, I drifted alone.  Thanks to organizations like Mommy's Light, children do not have to feel isolated in their grief.  They can learn how to celebrate their mother's love & keep her close to their hearts.

Visit their website for more information.  If you know a child who has experienced mother loss, they can provide you with ways to offer your support.  If you'd like to learn more about mother loss, I also encourage you to visit Hope Edelman's website.  Hope inspired my thesis & has done incredible research on motherless daughters.  I highly recommend her books & articles.  I found comfort & healing through the pages of her books.  She shares her story & the stories of other motherless daughters, normalizing the feelings & grief bereaved children of all ages experience.  Hope also serves on Mommy's Light's Advisory Board.   Click here to read a letter from Hope to Mommy's Light, describing why she supports their organization. 

Please visit the other blogs taking part in this event today!  Click here for a list of participating bloggers.  I hope Love Beats Hate has brightened your day & inspired you to share the love.

The truth is, love does beat hate.  Love prevails.  Not even death can stop love.

With Love,
Your Friendo Jenn

"A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another."  John 13:34

Hate doesn't stand a chance against love.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hey Friendos!

I'm honored to be taking part in a blogging event on November 17th called Love Beats Hate.  The event is being organized by fellow bloggers Jeanne & Diana Lee.  Visit her blog post, with more information about the event, here.

Love Beats Hate

If you would like your blog to be a part of the event, you can register on Jeanne's site (at the bottom of the post, linked above).  Or you can participate by reading the blog posts on November 17.  We would also greatly appreciate your help spreading the word about the event.  We have registered the hashtag #lovebeatshate on twitter, so you can find all the tweets.

Here's another link with more information about the event.

Let's all gather together & focus our positive energy on the power of love & supporting marginalized populations.  It's going to be an empowering event!  Thank you for any support you can give.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

I have discovered a new love & his name is Bob.

After three weeks & one day of my wheat elimination plan, I discovered Bob's Red Mill products at my local health food store.  I was shopping for ingredients for a "stoup" I was planning to make & was feeling slightly discouraged.  I always have bread with my soup.  I miss bread! That's when Bob's smiling face caught my eye.

I made this simply delicious cornbread & excitedly dunked (several pieces) into my soup bowl.  My husband smiled at my delight, as I rambled about how much I have missed my dear old friend Bread, enjoying every morsel.

Turns out, Bob has many wheat-free, gluten-free options.  I'm looking forward to trying different ones.  Thanks for keeping me on track Bob!


Friday, November 5, 2010

I'm blessed with the kindest father. He lives his life as a happy man.

He's a whistler. It's a mellow, joyful kind of whistle. Not harsh or shrill. Never seems to be an actual song, just a peppy tune of random notes. It epitomizes his life. He happily moves through each day with a smile on his face & a whistle on his lips. He inspires me to look on the bright side of life. It's impossible to be grouchy whilst whistling. When I am feeling blue, I try to think of my dad & whistle. It always puts a smile on my face.