Find Out What Jen Finds

My journey on the spectrum of life … and the lessons I learn along the way …
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about Healing: When the Momma’s happy, everyone is happy

  • June 2, 2011 6:38 pm

It’s been over a year since my last post. I can choose to feel guilty or celebrate the closing of an era.

I’ve been spending the last year physically and mentally healing. I stripped my slate down to literally the bare necessities. I labeled it “The Year of Non-Commitment” and I followed through with it. It sounds boring but it has been one of the busiest and hardest and best years of my life. My plate stayed full despite my pruning. Migraines and backaches controlled my days. Relationships were strained. And “stuff” kept oozing from the tiniest of crevices. I can’t even imagine how insane I would been had I not already eliminated my duties towards my career, the ASDa board, volunteering, and of course, my blog.

My journey of healing included: weaning myself off prescriptions and over-the-counter meds, detoxing my body and overhauling my diet, participating in a small group study, putting a finishline on a 9-year grief cycle, and investing my new found energy into a self-study and an anger management course, which has in turn freed up a lot of energy for me to do other stuff…fun stuff…like a vacation…without kids…or husbands.

So far in my journey,  I’ve been “small group hopping” for 1.5 years. The length of time it has taken me to heal is probably indicative of my inconsistency of attending my groups. But the time I have spent in my groups has been invaluable. First, in teaching me a new appreciation of independently reading the Bible, I’ve been able to reconcile a lot of concepts and doubts and confusion I held in my mind regarding my personal spirituality. Second, in being among friendly people, the social butterfly in me was finally able to emerge from her cocoon. Third, perspective, perspective, perspective. Ever hear the one about If we all put our issues in a big pile and then got to choose an issue from that pile, we all would pick up our own issues? My issues aren’t necessarily better or worse than the next person’s but they are mine – all mine. And while I might covet another parent’s ability to sign their child up for a team sport, I certainly do not covet the responsibilities both time-wise and financially they incur because of that freedom. And fourth, in allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, I not only receive the prayerful support I desperately need from friends, but also can provide that same prayerful support to them as well.

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)

Now then… I thought I had a pretty good grasp on the scope of my mourning. But I had grossly overlooked the most obvious situation that was overdue for bereavement. Through a family tragedy, I was able to discover I was stuck in the very early denial stage of grieving my miscarriage – The Eldest, I might call him. No one knew about the pregnancy. No one. Not even that we were even trying to start a family finally after 7 years of marital bliss. After the loss, no one still was aware of the existence. The Hub and I mourned in silence with a “Why bother?” attitude. We rescued The Skipper Dog to cheer us up (and boy did he!). Six months later I was pregnant with The Elder.  In my head, I thought that I had completed that grief cycle, accepting that God’s timing is impeccable and resolving that if the pregnancy had gone to term, The Elder would not have been born when he was, and his birthday has played a MAJOR role in many of the divine blessings we have received in early intervention.  But in actuality what I had done was deny the little being my love.  Alongside a dear loved one, I was able to feel her pain so strongly because I realized it was my pain, too. Her graceful and raw way she openly grieved was a window into my subconscious.  I’m so proud of her and grateful at how well she is handling her experience. She helped me give The Eldest an identity, ask for forgiveness, and to say good-bye. I can’t thank her enough.

Above all, I’m most proud of my physical healing. I think without it, my mental (nor spiritual) healing could have been resurrected (no pun intended). I contemplate everything I put in my mouth (except for the occasional foot). I’ve successfully weaned myself off all medications. I’ve been independent for 2.5 months! Not even an allergy pill! I use food for medicine or fast for a day when I need it, but mostly try to just stay healthy so I don’t need medicine to begin with. My dietary changes have not only improved my health, but also my budget. First because I conducted a short-term fast (7 days). Water is butt cheap. When I broke the fast, my body decided what I could or could not eat. (Sadly, I still must live a gluten-free lifestyle, which does offset budgetary gains of the new diet.) I have eliminated red meat and pork and only eat fowl in moderation (kids’ leftovers usually). Second, I eat mostly fruits and vegetables. Super cheap – even organic is cheap in comparison to my former diet. I don’t do well with processed corn, like in tortilla chips, but have no trouble with popcorn or kernel corn. There’s something else I can’t handle but I haven’t pinpointed what it is.  (I keep eating dairy (my indulgence) and I’m in denial that it affects me negatively in any way shape or form. How could something so yummy be harmful?) Third, I discovered I have an affinity for gardening. Unfortunately I’m a terrible gardener. My green thumb is the novice shade of green. I’m sure it has a lot to do with my attention span and tactile defensiveness rather than ability. But to compromise between love and talent, I’ve started sprouting. I’m pretty darn good at it. And I can eat alfalfa all the live long day. I also grow my own wheatgrass – chock full of antioxidants, my medicine. Much cheaper than the 90-day prescription deals. And fourth, I realized that I really do like to cook. Cooking is so much less expensive than eating out or pre-packaged foods. I can guarantee it will be gluten-free, and with the proper systems now in place, it hasn’t taken up all my time like I imagined it would. After all of these years of letting The Hub hang his flag in the kitchen, I claimed my ground and surprisingly have pleased all members of the family (even visiting relatives). I totally recognize that my attention span would not be in favor for a catering job, but something about cooking for my family makes me feel whole.

Now that the fog has lifted, I’m so much happier and so is my family (I hope so at least).  I lost a ghastly amount of weight during the 7-day fast, but have just about recovered completely to my original weight MINUS all the swelling and most of the cysts/fibroids that were forming in my body. That means less headaches, less trips to the chiropractor, better circulation, clearer thinking and more energy. Even when I looked my campiest, I was feeling dramatically better than I had in at least 3 years.

[lightbulb moment:] THIS is why I blog. In the process of summarizing the stuff in my head to avoid rambling on and on and boring the reader to death, a theme just emerges from the pages. (I wish I could brag of writer’s foresight and mad executive function skillz, but alas, I cannot.)  When I type on the fly about just the basic facts (plus a commentary or two as I always have parallel thoughts going on. Squirrel!), I’m able to see myself so much better.  Awareness is enlightening and frightening at the same time. So this is the lesson I’ve been taught today via this post: It’s been said that if you’re not growing, you’re dying. I’d like to add a twist to that - if you’re not loving, you’re dying.  Personal growth is the result of learning to love where I was not willing to love before.

“Are you willing to spend time studying the issues, making yourself aware, and then conveying that information to family and friends? … If some among you fear taking a stand because you are afraid of reprisals from customers, clients, or even government, recognize that you are just feeding the crocodile hoping he’ll eat you last. (October 27, 1964)”

~ Ronald Reagan

I’ve still got a long row to hoe before I can harvest the title “Healed,” but it is so nice to take a big crop of perspective and be able to enjoy the journey – living and loving life today, weeds and all.

about Commitment: What’s a resolution anyway?

  • January 3, 2010 11:46 pm

…the number of pixels per square inch on my monitor? …finding a solution to a problem? …the pretty chords you hear following the dissonant chords that sometimes make my skin crawl (that song from Phantom of the Opera comes to mind at the moment)?

Every year at this time you hear this phrase floating about: New Year’s Resolution. In this context:

res-o-lu-tion [rez-uh-loo-shuhn] noun
a decision to do something or to behave in a certain manner

There’s a debate that exists on whether one should or should not declare a New Year’s Resolution. I heard (being a geek statistician and all) that roughly 97% of New Year’s Resolutions are not kept. (This doesn’t surprise me since I also know that about 3% of folks are natural-born leaders – the rest of us have to get trained.) So why bother if odds point to fail?

“A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.”
– Oscar Wilde

This is the #1 debate that goes on in my head every January 1ish. Upon reflection, here are some points that I argue (with myself).

  • A resolution is goal-setting which is always a good thing. Throwing the dart when there’s not even a target will always be a miss. I feel like I’m moving forward when I finally make a decision about something. Ever heard “Indecision is the Devil’s playground” or “Sitting on the fence hurts”? When I’m stuck, I actually feel like I’m going backwards.
  • A decision isn’t a strategy. Too often I set a goal with absolutely no idea of how to do it. Without strategy, its hit or miss. If you’ve never been to the destination before, a map would come in handy. This is when I have to make sure I set a realistic start date and deadline. January 1st ought to be my first planning day instead of the first day I’m expected to do a 180. Hmmm…maybe the END of the year should be the deadline.
  • The goal means nothing without the effort. Perhaps my resolutions were broken because I never actually believed that I would accomplish them. Therefore I never committed to them. ‘Nuff sed.
  • Efforting is hard. I have a bad habit of keeping goals to myself and then forgetting about them trying to accomplish them. The more people I tell the more I get excited about my goals. Those endorphins kick in and I don’t seem nearly as fatigued. But the best help is asking someone to hold me accountable which is usually the missing ingredient for me and then I get burned out.
  • Staying motivated is key for commitment. If I’ve learned anything in the last 3 years, I’ve learned that motivation does NOT come from accomplishing a goal. Motivation comes via the REASON the goal was set in the first place, whether it be for joy, health, spirit, or [insert core value here].

So do I have a New Year’s Resolution? I do. And a New Year’s Strategy too! I resolve to make time to write, beginning with my blog. I unexpectedly announced it to myself in a reply to Lori @spinningyellow‘s tweet about HER resolution. My goal is to post at least once a week, however seeing that once a month is rare, I’m going to start with at least once a month. (January…check! Guess I can move up to biweekly now!) I am motivated by feedback because I learn about people, I learn about myself (usually that I’m too hard on myself or too full of myself), and the more I can learn the more open-minded I become and the better I can teach my kids how to navigate through this world. After all, they are the REASON I do about 98% of the things I do. From ‘Gotta eat so I don’t snap and throw one out the window’ to ‘Gotta hug and kiss The Hub so they don’t think they are the center of my universe all the time.’ (Yeah…I haven’t figured out how sudoku or bubble shooter benefits them yet. Guess that falls under the 2%.)

Now I’m asking my readers and ex-readers who thought I fell off the edge of the planet, to help hold me accountable. How? Comment often? Subscribe to my blog? Tweet/FB this post? Send me chocolate? Your resolution to share however and whenever will be most appreciated by me and will likely have a greater impact than you probably think.

about Blogging: A purpose obliterates that “wasting time on the computer” feeling

  • September 14, 2009 7:50 am

It also gets rid of that guilty feeling I get when I see how long it has been since my last post! Yes, I know that my blog has been super stagnant due to an apparent drastic decrease in the number of hours in a day and days in a week. Or the inability to clone myself. But my wish is to return to blogging because I love to network and share, especially if it can help someone, even if just a chuckle or a smile. The adrenaline rush I get personally get when someone else makes me smile can usually sustain me for a while (until I have to amuse myself somehow – which in my household isn’t too terribly difficult). But while I hope to uplift a reader (y’all come back now, y’hear?), my blog has always been a therapeutic journaling exercise for me. Therefore I will continue to focus on my life experiences, which 99.9% of them revolve around autism spectrum issues. However, due to my inability to conduct daily journaling and my wish to avoid 3000 word timelines to catch up 6 months of mayhem, I am going to be choosy with what to share. My preference will be a story that, overtime, has unfolded into a beautiful learning experience for me.  But I won’t be able to resist the one-liners and the “moments I might have missed if my child didn’t have autism.”  I will continue to regularly update facebook and twitter so feel free to follow me.

Since I have shifted my occupation from the sales side of business (still in business tho! yay!) to the coaching side of business, I have felt much more aligned with what I believe is my personal mission in life. Without going into detail, 4 years ago I finally figured what that was…my mission statement…to generate power. (There’s a REALLY cool story behind that too that one day I will publish.) I guess you can say it’s a fancy way of saying “empower.” (In that REALLY cool story there are specifics, like POWER is an acronym and that each letter stands for a core value of mine.) So while my sales business brings home the turkey bacon, being “powercoachjen” brings home the fulfillment and warm fuzzies. One day (when I get an illustrator and publisher) my joy will be my job and I’ll not ever have to work a day in my life! (Oh wait…I’ll still be a mother…lol)

“Don’t be afraid to find your power to make a positive change in your life. Then don’t be afraid to use it.”