Dear Mr. Unavailable …

I have to break up with you. I’m sorry, I know this comes as shock, but I just can’t do it anymore. I love you, and I have loved you since I first started dating in my teen years. Actually, I think I’ve loved you since I was about seven and I chased you around on the playground.

I always thought I could fix you, Mr. Unavailable. That if I were patient enough, loving enough, kind enough, smart enough, enough enough, you would suddenly and magically transform into someone that wanted to go all in with me.

You have misled me too many times and frankly, I’m tired of your crap.

I finally, finally got it — I can’t fix you. God knows I’ve tried. But I’m not the real fixer, He is, and for some reason it’s a lesson I have to live over and over.

It doesn’t matter why you’re unavailable, Mr. Unavailable, because the end result is the same for me. I slip into the comfortable relationship with you because it’s so familiar. I know this dance. Or should I say I know what it’s like to be a wallflower in love, waiting for you to finally pick me.

I say I want a nice guy, but instead I’ve been picking the challenging ones. The ones that don’t love Jesus, or the ones that say they do but don’t mean it. The workaholics, the underachievers, the closeted gays, the ones that aren’t over their exes, or the ones that only text at midnight after a few drinks — I’m not making excuses for you anymore.

Why am I waiting for you to love me, Mr. Unavailable, when I’ve had a perfect love in front of me this whole time? Jesus loves me, and if I’m good enough for Him, then I’m good enough for me too.

I don’t know what your problem is, but I have finally recognized my part in it. I trusted in myself and my own abilities too much while simultaneously doubting my own value. Isn’t that insane? No wonder I keep pursuing crazy men.

Needless to say, it’s not you, it’s me. I didn’t get divorced just so I could make the same mistakes over and over again. After three months of first dates and an unrequited crush or two, I’m going to stop obsessing.

If you don’t like me, you don’t like me. I can’t make you like me. Jesus likes me, and you know what? That’s enough for me.

Goodbye Forever,
Jenny

A Note to the People That Leave Disgusting Comments on My Blog

*Edited January 26 to delete all comments and disallow future ones. Some of you people are is serious need of mental help.*

 

Hiya, haters! How y’all doin’? Didja get out of your mom’s basement today? No? Well don’t worry, there’s always tomorrow.

OK, seriously guys, I have to ask.

What is your obsession with me?

I just came to check my blog for an old post, and I saw my most recent entry had 63 comments. Last I checked, there were about a dozen, and since few were very flattering, I’m going to go ahead and assume that not a lot of these are either.

I know you’re shocked, but I don’t actually sit around and wait for comments to appear.

Should I be scared? Many of you seem to be very into freaky sex, and under some sort of impression that I’m dying to have it with you. Honestly, even if I wanted to do it with you guys, yours dicks are probably so small I wouldn’t be able to find them. Sorry not sorry.

But really, what is the freaking deal?

Not all of you think I’m slutty — some of you just think I’m a crappy mom. Others of you think I was a crappy wife.

I was pretty awesome at both, actually. Now gardening, well, I suck at gardening. Perhaps that’s what you meant to say. I can see how it’s easy to confuse the two. I mean, if I can’t keep a geranium alive, how could I possibly care for children?

But even Leif thinks I was an AWESOME wife — and more than that, he wishes y’all would stop with this nonsense.

Side note to Leif’s future girlfriend/wife: He HAS acknowledged that he was not great husband to me, and he HAS promised to do better. There’s just too much water under the bridge at this point for me to continue. Best of luck to you, and I hope we can be friendly at least.

My tagline remains true. God. Family. Politics. Wine. (In that order)

Leif and I will always be family, even if it’s not in the way I imagined it, because we share two gorgeous daughters. There’s no getting around that.

It’s because of those girls, and out of respect for the nearly eleven years we were married, that I’m not telling you what went down on the other side of the proverbial closed door.

So you, Men of the Tiny Dicks, are out of line in making judgment calls about Leif or me. And frankly, your strange foaming-at-the-mouth compulsion to leave very nasty comments on my blog speaks more about you than me.

I’m really sorry for whatever nameless, faceless bitch rejected you and your acrimonious attitudes, but I am not the poster child for everything that’s wrong in your life.

But I guess I’d be pretty pissed too if I had nothing better to do than sit around and monitor the comments section of some random chick’s blog.

Cheers to 2014!

At some point, this actually happened.

At some point, this actually happened too.

Happy New Year, y’all!

Holy crap, so 2013 happened.

There is a suitcase on the floor of my room right now that has a pair of Cole Haan pumps and a dress that needs to go to the cleaners. It’s been there since I got back from New York. In October.

Side note: When I did the Huckabee show, I ended up wearing Uggs with my dress instead of the dress shoes. Because I’m me and cold and also the red eye flight the night before.

Anyway. The suitcase is still there.

Oh yeah, also I went to New York City and met Mike Huckabee, and did a quick segment on his show. Such an awesome experience! La la love the peeps at Fox News.

So life has been a little bit busy, slightly overwhelming, and generally surreal as I’ve been adjusting to being single for the first time since I was 18. Only now I have kids. Single at 18 is different than almost divorced at almost 31, that’s for sure.

Laundry now consists of three baskets on top of the washer and dryer — one for me, and one for each of my daughters. Things get a quick fold as they come out of the dryer, and that’s it. Thankfully we’re all girls and don’t have a problem changing downstairs as we’re practically on our way out the door. Also thankfully we have blinds.

We got a cat. Oswin is awesome. Her name is short for Clara Oswald. 10 points for you if you get it.

Thing 1 turned 10. She’s going to Virginia on a class field trip in April. What kind of school is this? Oh yeah, one that also teaches her Latin and Mandarin and most importantly cultivates her love of learning.

Thing 2 is in kindergarten. Interestingly, her teacher is the little sister of one of my high school acquaintances. Small, small world this is. She is loving every second of it. Thing 2, not necessarily the teacher, but her teacher is so awesome that I bet she’s (mostly) loving it too.

What else? Oh yeah, I got a full time job. I’ve been freelancing at The Stir since its inception, but they needed a full time staff writer at the exact moment I needed a full time job. Perfecto! That’s mostly why I haven’t been blogging here. I write 33 posts a week for them. By the end of the day, I’m more interested in cuddling girlies or zonking in front of Hulu than updating y’all on my life.

Speaking of updating y’all on my life … I started this blog post on the first and now it’s the fifth. Did I mention that I’ve been busy??

2013 was a crappy year. It happens. You know what though? Life throws you curveballs. God in His infinite wisdom refines us in ways we never saw coming, but ultimately, if you love HIM at the end of the day, and trust not in yourself or in His other creations, but just in HIM, He will not lead you astray.

Through every trial, He will prevail, but one thing I’ve learned over the last several years is that you have step out of the way of yourself, let go, and let God.

Here’s to a lovely 2014.

I am ‘As a Gentile & Tax Collector’ AKA – I Was Ex-Communicated Today

How many people get to say that in their lifetime?

Also I totally told you guys this was going to happen.

This is what was read, out loud and openly to the congregation of my former church today. I’m just so grateful to God that Leif has decided not to attend there anymore or subject our children to this terribleness.

Where is the love, people?

Bold emphasis mine [brackets mine too].Italicized theirs.

 

Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ:

On September 1, 2013 Elder [name redacted] read during the divine service an announcement that the Consistory decided to proceed to the first step of public discipline with a member of [name redacted].

According to Article 55 of our Church Order the Consistory needs to ask the advice of Classis before proceeding to the second step of discipline. The Consistory asked for that advice of Classis at its meeting on September 17-18, 2013 by presenting the circumstances and the care given to this individual without the name of the individual being mentioned. During the course of the discussion it was mentioned that a few months ago this member stated via e-mail to the Clerk of Consistory that she wanted to resign from being a member of [name redacted]. At that time this request was denied because the Consistory didn’t see that option in our Church Order nor do the By Laws of [name redacted] allow for such a termination of membership. After much discussion Classis gave our Consistory this advice:

“…classis advise the consistory of [name redacted] to consider acquiescing to the request for resignation from Mrs. X and thereby recognize her as standing outside the communion of the saints and consider her as one excommunicated from Christ’s church.”

The Consistory voted to accept that advice and to act according to it. Towards that end we have called this special meeting of the [name redacted] membership.

Up to this point the Consistory has proceeded according to Matthew 18 and our Church Order and we have not made known to the congregation the individual that we have placed under discipline. Because this individual has requested to resign from the church of Christ [Side note: WTF? I am still a member of Christ’s church -- just not this particular congregation. I have never asked to be removed from my savior, whom I rely upon daily. Gah.] the Consistory considers that excommunication and we are treating it as such. Normally there are two other public steps of discipline including the announcement of the sinner’s name prior to the announcement of excommunication, but given the circumstances and the request of this member, Classis advised us to proceed to this final step.

At this time, then, it is appropriate that we announce to you again the sin of the individual as well as her name. We do this with heavy hearts and with the prayer that the Lord will give her saving faith and once again bring her into the communion of the saints. The Consistory of [name redacted] has used the Keys of the Kingdom in the exercise of Christian discipline towards Jennifer Erikson for the sin of filing for divorce without Biblical grounds and no attempt to reverse those actions.

Form for Excommunication:

As you know we have announced to you the great sin committed and the grievous offense given by our fellow-member, Jennifer Erikson, to the end that, by your Christian admonitions and prayers, she might come to her senses, turn to God, and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will (2 Tim. 2:26).

[Another side note. Snare of the Devil. I’m sorry, but I just snorted. Y’all should’ve heard it. It was totally sexy. Snare. Of. The. Devil.]

But to our great sorrow no one has yet appeared before us who has caused us to understand that, by the frequent admonitions given her (in private, before witnesses, and in the presence of many)[False. Very, very false. I met with Leif and one elder the morning after I left him, and one elder, ALONE, soon after that. They both said I was a sinner-sinner-pumpkin-eater and I figured I was better off not heeding their advice to meet with My Pastor], she has come to any sorrow for her sin or has shown the least evidence of true repentance. Since, then, by her stubbornness she daily aggravates her transgression, which in itself is not small, and since we have made known to you the last time that in case she did not repent, after such patience shown her by the church [Patience? Y’all have ex-communicated me in less than six months. When has that happened before? I mean like maybe if I were convicted of a crime or something, but hot dang this was lightning quick -- which I guess is your decision to make, but to then brag about your patience is making my eyes roll] we should be constrained further to grieve for her and to come to the extreme remedy, we are therefore at the present time compelled to proceed to her excommunication. We do this according to the command and charge given us in God’s holy Word. Our purpose is that she may be ashamed of her sins, that by this corrupt and as yet unrepentant member we may not put the whole body of the church in danger, and that God’s Name may not be blasphemed but reverenced.

Pronouncement of Excommunication

Therefore, we ministers and rulers of the church of God at this place, being assembled in the Name and authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, declare before you all that for the aforesaid reasons we have excommunicated and hereby excommunicate Jennifer Erikson from the Church of the Lord [Again, sorry, guys, you can't ex-communicate me from God. Only from your church.]; that, so long as she persists obstinately and impenitently in her sins, she is excluded from the fellowship of Christ, and of the holy sacraments, and of all the spiritual blessings and benefits which God promises to and bestows upon His Church; and that she is to be accounted by you as a Gentile and a tax collector (Matt. 18:17), according to the command of Christ, who says of His ministers, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven (Matt. 18:18).

Exhortation

Further we exhort you, beloved Christians, not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of such sin—not even to eat with such a one (1 Cor. 5:11) to the end that he may be ashamed; yet do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother (2 Thes. 3:15).

In the meantime let every one take warning by this and similar examples to fear the Lord and diligently to take heed: let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall (1 Cor. 10:12); but having true fellowship with the Father and His Son Christ, together with all believing Christians, to remain firm to the end (Heb. 3:14), obtaining the outcome of our faith, the salvation of our souls (1 Peter 1:9). You have seen, dear brothers and sisters, in what manner this our excommunicated sister has begun to fall and gradually has come to ruin [ruin!]. Learn, then, from her how subtle Satan is to bring man to destruction and to draw him away from all salutary means of salvation. Guard yourselves, then, against the least beginnings of evil, and according to the admonition of the apostle, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:1–2). Be sober- minded; be watchful (1 Peter 5:8); pray that you may not enter into temptation (Luke 22:46). Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts (Heb. 4:7), but work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12); and let every one repent of his sin, lest our God humble us again and we be obliged to mourn for some of you; but may you, with one accord living in godliness, be our crown and joy in the Lord.

But since it is God who works in us, both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13), let us call upon His holy Name with confession of our sins.

Prayer of Confession

O righteous God, merciful Father, before Your high majesty we blame ourselves for our sins and acknowledge that we have justly deserved the sorrow and pain caused us by the excommunication of this our late fellow-member; indeed, if You should enter into judgment with us, we all deserve to be excluded and banished from Your presence on account of our great transgression [No. Comment.]. But, O Lord, be gracious unto us for Christ’s sake; forgive us our trespasses, for we heartily repent of them; and work in our hearts an ever increasing measure of sorrow for them, that we, fearing Your judgments which You bring upon the stiff-necked, may endeavor to please You. Grant that we may avoid all pollution of the world and of those who are excluded from the communion of the Church, in order that we may not make ourselves partakers of their sins, and that he who is excommunicated may become ashamed of his sins [Church copy-editor apparently got lazy. I’ve been a girl up to this point]. And since You desire not the death of the sinner, but that he may repent and live, and since the bosom of Your Church is always open for those who return, kindle, therefore, in our hearts a godly zeal, that we, with good Christian admonitions and example, may seek to bring back this excommunicated person, together with all those who through unbelief and recklessness of life go astray. Add Your blessing to our admonitions, that we thereby may have reason to rejoice again in her [yay I’m a llama again!] for whom we must now mourn, and that thus Your holy name be praised, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

 

So yeah that happened.

I’d have words, but they’re kinda unnecessary, right?

And to think … I used to be scared of what these people thought of me.

Cray Cray Crazy Beautiful & Busy Life

Oh my goodness. Today I ran around like a one-armed wallpaper hanger on crack and speed. Or are crack and speed the same things? I don’t know, I’ve never been very fluent in drug-lingo, having never partaken of things like crack or speed, and also I’m not a cop and I’ve never appeared on an episode of Miami Vice.

Regardless, today was crazy busy.

It was my first day back at The Stir. I wrote about silly school districts unintentionally giving kids heat strokes, and also Miley Cyrus’s VMA debacle. You know, because that hasn’t been talked about enough. Can people please stop talking about Miley? Oh, I should take my own advice? Hmmm … well then let’s just say I wrote some social commentary about teen culture in America.

Also in there somewhere, I carted the kiddos to school, which is now a 30-minute commute, saw my therapist and went through the usual emotional meat grinder and came out a lovely sausage at the other end (or something), picked up my brand new kindergartener at the ‘transitional’ 1 pm pick-up time, ran home for an hour to relieve Furbaby and cuddle with said kindergartener, ran back to school to pick up the fifth grader, and ghostwrote a couple of fundraising emails for my other job. Also laundry, dishes, breakfast, lunch, dinner, homework, and bedtime stories.

I’s is a leetle bit tired. And I can’t wait until next week when I can pick both kids up at 3 instead of this skewed pickup time nonsense. But only one more day of that for me, because Leif is in charge of them from tomorrow evening until Sunday! Holla! Don’t get me wrong, I miss them like nutso when they’re gone, but I’m glad they love their daddy, and honestly, it gives me a few days to play catch up. I might even put that pile of clean laundry away! Hahahahahaha — I almost believed myself there for a moment.

So many people have asked me over the past several months … how are you going to live? It’s been asked in various contexts (emotionally, financially, sanely, etc.), but the answer to them all is one day at a time. At least for right now.

It’s odd and strangely freeing to not know exactly where I’m going to be a year from now. I’ve always been the girl with The Plan. The Plan has changed every now and then, because hey, life requires adaptation, but right now there is No Plan other than love my girls like crazy, work hard enough to pay the bills, and rely totally and fully on God.

I’m sure His Plan is better than My Plan anyway.

Here’s to a good night’s sleep. Goodnight and God bless!

The Real Fixer

I’m a tool.

That’s what she said!

I swear it will make sense in a minute. But I gotta set it up first.

If you were an evangelical teen girl in the late nineties, you probably had a colorful woven bracelet that said F.R.O.G. You wore it with your WWJD? bracelet, along with your True Love Waits ring and your short-shorts, because you were in high school and your legs looked fabulous, even though you didn’t fully appreciate them at the time.

F.R.O.G.

Fully. Rely. On. God.

And if you’re anything like me, you told yourself that you did.

I’ve been a Christian my whole life, and probably only remember the exact moment I asked Jesus into my heart because it came as a result of my brother dying, and my barely-cognizant toddler self wanted to go to Heaven too.

So. I’ve always relied on God to see me through the tough times.

Except maybe I didn’t.

I said I did, and I thought I did, but now that I think about … I’m unconvinced that I ever actually did.

Here’s the deal: I like to fix things. I like to teach, preach, educate, and share. I like to put myself in other people’s shoes and try on their rose-tinted glasses, and offer mine for them to try on too. I want to understand people, and I want them to understand me. It’s why I’m a blogger, people.

It never occurred to me that I might come upon a situation I couldn’t somehow fix. Maybe periphery things, like that chick at work that possibly didn’t like me, or a bad hair day, or when the movie sold out before I bought my tickets … but even those things could be fixed in a way. Be nice and stay out of Crazy Chick’s way. Wear a cute hat. See a different movie or go to a later showing. Fixed and done.

Here’s the thing about being a fixer — it feels good. It feels really, really good to see people experience happiness and know that you had a part in it. The Christian part of me tried to give the credit to God, even (especially?) in my own heart, but the pride I felt in being the tool God used to change something on this earth for the better betrayed that credit.

It’s probably like a mirror thinking it’s beautiful when a pretty face gazes upon it.

The problem with this line of thinking is on the other side of the coin. If, as God’s tool, I can create peace and happiness and harmony, then when bad things happen it must be because I wasn’t a good enough tool. Must. Try. Harder. Change tactics. Find a new solution.

A better tool could’ve fixed it. A better mirror would’ve reflected something beautiful when confronted with ugliness.

And as good as it feels to be the tool that creates beauty, that’s as bad as it feels to be the useless, discarded tool that’s no good at fixing things.

The past several years have been a slow process of untangling myself from thinking that I had to put up with the bad parts of life, because obviously if I’d done a better job of fixing them, they wouldn’t have been be so awful. I never declared anything broken — I just hadn’t found the right combination of duct tape and elbow grease to fix it.

In other words, I was not fully relying on God to be The Fixer. He was merely the power behind my glorious Tool Self.

Instead of feeling grateful that God had chosen me, out of all the other people He could’ve chosen to accomplish something good, I took the credit for myself like a hammer might take credit for pounding in a nail.

Newsflash: It doesn’t matter which hammer the carpenter uses. Feeling bad and taking the blame for not being able to fix something is as futile as a hammer feeling bad for not being able to hit the nail on the head.

The hammer must rely on the carpenter, and so must we also rely on God.

Otherwise we are on dangerous ground, becoming like King Saul, who refused to wait for Solomon to perform the sacrifice. Do you know what happened when Saul took it upon himself to do what he considered to be the Lord’s work, but didn’t actually trust and rely on God to get it done according to His perfect will and own good timing?

And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” 1 Samuel 13: 13-14

Saul’s lineage would’ve ruled the kingdom of Israel forever, but because of his own selfish desires to be the fixer, instead of totally relying on God, he screwed himself over.

Let’s not be like King Saul, mmmkay?

How appropriate that God the Fixer sent His Son to earth as a carpenter.

God knows the blueprints of our lives, and if we can only yield to Him, He will use us for His glory, and we will become His treasured tools, as inseparable from Him as a two-year-old from a favorite lovey.

Bottom line: Pay attention to God when He keeps trying to use you as a screwdriver, or an angle plane, or a chisel or whatever.

He made you and He knows your purpose. Stop beating yourself up because you’re a monkey wrench that did a horrible job trying to be a clamp.

God has a perfect plan for you, and you are the perfect tool to accomplish His grand design. Trust that He is using you exactly as He intended, even if you never thought about yourself in that way. It is only when we decide that, as tools, we know better than the carpenter that we run into trouble.

Be a beautiful, glorious tool.

That’s what she said.

(I told you it would make sense.)

Back to Political Commentary? Sure, Why Not?

Months and months ago, when I was going through the emotional throes of holy crap I think my marriage is over and what the eff am I supposed to do about that, a friend said to me, “Can you please make a decision so you can get back to snarky political commentary? In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s quite a bit going on.”

Whatever. The president said they were all phony scandals, so he must be right or I’m a racist. Pfffttt.

Last fall when I was on the Romney campaign, we weren’t really allowed to tweet. Well, we could but we couldn’t. Sometimes except certain times. Only if it was a good tweet, but not too good. Never on Tuesdays or after dark. Unless there was a debate. In other words, the tweeting policy was clear as mud.

Because nothing says Voter Engagement like reclusiveness.

I finally gave up trying after I was chastised for tweeting, “Lady smarts > lady parts.” Yes, I cried, because I’m a TOTAL PROFESSIONAL. Seriously though, if I couldn’t win with that tweet, then the whole thing just seemed hopeless. I should’ve known right then that we were going to lose.

Anyway, I was talking to Justin, one of my favorite friends in the Boston trenches with me about it, and said that once the campaign was over I wanted to go back to commentary. “I think my first tweet after the campaign shall be, ‘I’m back, bitches.’”

Then he blushed because he’s LDS and doesn’t say the B-word.

Er, um … neither do I. Except sometimes.

Obviously, my cussing policy is very similar to the Romney tweeting policy, which can basically be summed up as: Don’t get caught by the wrong people. Sorry if you’re reading this, Dad.

Of course, it’s been nine months since the campaign ended (nine months!!!), which is not only the correct amount of time to grow a human, but also apparently just about right for getting over a spectacular political loss. Not to mention a bunch of personal crap.

Since then I’ve been plodding along, keeping up with some news, doing some behind-the-scenes freelance writing for some candidates, and doing other very important things like learning how to curl my hair. Yes, I was 30 before I learned how to properly work a curling iron. Stop judging me. Judgey people are only allowed to visit between 2-4 pm on the sixth of never.

Anyway.

A couple of weeks ago I got a message from the lovely Christine, who knew me from being on with Chip and LaDonna once upon a time for the whole Victoria’s Secret hullabaloo. She’s now producing for Rick Amato’s new Internet TV show, and would I like to come on?

Rick and I go way back, like three years or longer! I’ve been on his radio show a handful of times, and we’ve spoken at some of the same Tea Party events.

Would I like to do a media appearance to comment on some current events from a conservative mommy blogger’s perspective? Um, yes.

All that to say … I’m back, bitches.

(Sorry Dad.)

So I was on a panel yesterday, Token Female Style, to discuss expatriates and gender-bender issues. I’ll post a clip when they get it archived.

Thoughts on Record Expatriatism

There’s this new law that’s killing Swiss bank accounts, because the U.S. is now demanding that all financial institutions report on American citizens’ bank activity — anywhere in the world. You know, so they can be sure to squeeze every last drop of blood out of people’s wallets in the name of taxes.

So people living and working abroad are denouncing their American citizenship in record numbers. The tax rate is capped in Hong Kong at 15 percent.

And liberals scratch their heads at this phenomenon, because paying taxes is supposed to be patriotic.

Meanwhile in California

Jerry Brown signed a law that says all students in public school grade K-12 get to pick their own gender. No really. It’s supposed to combat bullying, because if a little boy wears pigtails and a skirt, the bullying will supposedly stop if he’s allowed to use the girls’ bathroom.

*Insert eye roll here*

Actually, I don’t really care. I don’t have an opinion on raising little Johnny as little Joannie. You don’t tell me how to raise my kids, and I won’t tell you how to raise yours. Just keep ‘em healthy, happy, and reasonably under control in public please.

I think the real issue is going to come into play when Johnny/Joannie is 17 and wants to play basketball on the girls’ team. Boys are naturally better athletes than us women-folk, stuffed bra and close shave aside.

We were also going to talk about Bob Filner, but ran out of time. So I’ll just say he’s an ass. And I voted for Carl DeMaio.

Also I think it’s funny Hooters won’t serve him because he’s too big a boob even for them.

Sometimes the headlines write themselves.

The Girl with the Bible Tattoo

bible tattoo

God is in the midst of her

How bad is it gonna hurt??

Come on. If you don’t have a tattoo, you’re wondering. If you do have some ink (look at me with my hip, I’ve-now-been-inked language!), you remember wondering. Because fact of the matter is that in order to get some permanent body art — you gotta break some skin.

For the record, skydiving was way more terrifying.

Wait. I take that back. Telling my mother I got a tattoo was up there with jumping out of a plane.

“You’re 30, Jenny. You can get a tattoo,” Ashley reassured me.

“But but but … my mom!”

For the record, mi madre was great, and loved the scripture reference, and made no indication at all of any inner thoughts along the lines of OMG MY DAUGHTER JUST DISFIGURED HERSELF AND WHY WOULD YOU PUT A BUMPER STICKER ON A PORSCHE?

Thanks Mom.

It took seven minutes and cost $50. I didn’t cry even though I’m a total crier. My artist Roger said he was impressed about the skydiving thing — he said he didn’t have the guts for it. Yes, I mentioned it like 8,000 times, because I had to convince everyone there that I wasn’t a wuss. And by ‘everyone’ I mean me. Roger had a neck tattoo, by the way.

That’s right, the dude with the neck tattoo thought I was badass.

Then later he said he was glad I turned out not to be a screamer, and I uttered that’s what she said under my breath because obviously I had to.

Anyway.

I love it.

God is our refuge and strength, 
a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, 
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, 
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.

The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord of hosts is with us; 
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth.

He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.

“Be still, and know that I am God. 
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Best Life Now

I really, really don’t care for Joel Osteen — his teeth and his platitudes irk me.

Prosperity gospel? Pfffffttt.

“It’s God’s will for you to live in prosperity instead of poverty. It’s God’s will for you to pay your bills and not be in debt. It’s God’s will for you to live in health and not in sickness all the days of your life.”

How Mr. Osteen reconciles that with the bible verse about the rich man, the camel, and the eye of the needle is beyond my comprehension, but maybe I’m just not enlightened enough. *insert eye roll here*

Anyway. Never in the history of ever has God given any indication whatsoever that He wants us to be rich, temporally happy, or even healthy. What does He want? He wants us to delight in Him and Him alone. He wants us to delight in Him so badly that He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to Hell and back so that we may know Him.

You didn’t think Christ’s suffering ended on the cross, didja? He paid the price for our transgressions, and that cost is Hell. Christ literally went to Hell and back for you. That’s all kinds of amazing, and something I can’t fully wrap my mind around, because every time I try, my brain figuratively explodes from trying to comprehend such a love.

I can’t even stand it when my kids bonk their heads or scrape their knees … the idea of sacrificing them like lambs so some ungrateful lot of vagabonds might have an opportunity to knock on my door and grace me with their presence? Inconceivable.

What God has done for us is so beyond dollars and cents, love lost and love won, life on Earth at all — that He must view us as squabbling children fighting over the favorite toy of the moment most of the time.

So when people like Joel Osteen say things like, “It’s God’s will for you to live in prosperity …” I scoff or roll my eyes or blow raspberries. Because I’m totally mature like that. But I’m pretty sure the creator of the universe invented the #facepalm, so I go with it.

God’s will is for us to love Him with our whole hearts and souls and all our strength and minds, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Nothing more and nothing less.

So then what about the rest?

As much as I don’t like Joel Osteen or his cockamamie prosperity gospel, I do believe in living the best life you possibly can — now and forever.

Sometimes life hands you lemons — so go find some sugar and a pitcher and make some friggin’ lemonade. Add vodka if you have it, and invite some friends over. Or maybe even a friend will bring vodka! Those are the bestest friends.

Anyway, God calls us to suffer, but I think I missed the part where He said we’re supposed to wallow in it.

Yes, my marriage fell apart. For better or worse, no matter whose ‘fault’ it was, and not through any lack of trying to fix it — it fell apart. That’s one heck of a lemon, my friends.

And I’m handling it the best that I can. I’m putting on my big girl pants and trying to live my best life now as I put my broken heart in Jesus’ hands to heal. I’ll squee over sales at Target and find other ordinary things to appreciate. I’ll jump out of planes and I’ll spend what would’ve been my 11th anniversary weekend while my kids are at their first full week at their dad’s with my best friend in Texas.

It’s not flippancy; it’s recovery. It is joy and peace and light and trust in the God of hope. Every day I want to live my best possible life. Some days that’s just getting through without bitch-slapping anyone, and others it’s taking the kids to the beach to delight in His creation. Whatever it is, it is completely and totally relying on God to get me through.

My burden was heavy, but I took His yoke and am finding rest for my soul. And it is sooooooo good — lemonade for the soul level of good.

It’s my best life now, and though it may not look like it, it is my way honoring God, of thanking Him for the abundant mercies he has blessed me with. Thank Him even for the suffering. Because suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

You may see a sandwich, or a glass of wine, or bowling with a friend, or veging out on the couch catching up on Nashville, or any other number of little things that make me happy … what I see is a Godsend.

It’s my best life now, because God did not leave me in the wilderness. He came and got me … somewhat brutally got me to stop placing my faith in myself and put it back in Him and relearn to trust in Him and Him alone.

And that is the joy that surpasses all joy, even in the midst of suffering.

The Jump

When you’re in the process of getting divorced, questioning religion, and generally trying to figure out who you are as a person after three decades under your belt on the planet, you have your bad moments.

I had such a moment last weekend.

“Eff it. I’m done with the sad. I’m going skydiving!” I half yelled at a friend.

“You should totally do that,” was the response.

I got off the phone and looked up some companies in San Diego that might be willing to toss me out of an airplane. Left the tabs open and went to sleep because it was like 1am.

The next morning, I reread the reviews, confirmed to myself that I actually liked the one I’d picked out the night before (note to my mama — see! I totally made a rational decision about skydiving NOT at 1am.) (I’m going to guess that doesn’t mean much to my mama, whose only comfort right now is that I’m still alive.) (I love you Mom!), and I booked it.

**Everything written up to this point was pre-free fall. The following is my thoughts and reactions to being PUSHED OFF AN AIRPLANE.**

Ok, I volunteered to be pushed. And it’s a good thing I was pushed, because I probably would have sat in that open airplane door all freaking day if my tandem jumper Igor (how cool is that name? He’s Russian, apparently. But he lived in Australia. His Russian-Australian accent was dreamy.) hadn’t fallen out of the plane on top of me 10,000 feet in the atmosphere.

Anyway. I showed up to Pacific Coast Skydiving this afternoon, and it looked so much like a movie set I was half expecting to see Matthew McConaughey walking around the corner. It was open and funky and breezey and it was kinda like a hip hanger barn with airplanes and parachutes and old couches and a ping-pong table.

The people there were warm and friendly, and totally made me feel at ease. I signed and initialed a bunch of stuff, including something that said I had made provisions for my children in the case of my death. I laughed that off and didn’t think too much about it, because no one likes to think about dying.

All of a sudden a thought crossed my brain that I swear had not even entered it since I made the reservation — what if the chute doesn’t open?? Seriously. I hadn’t even entertained that idea. As soon as I thunk it, I unthunk it. No point in worrying about being their first causality. Besides, that’s why you go tandem with a professional — you die, they die.

So they got me all harnessed up and on the plane with this other chick and her skydiver, and then we took off. It took maybe 15 to 20 minutes to reach altitude, and of course the view was amazing. Igor got me all hooked up to him, and told me that when the door opened, I needed to swing my legs out (I was going first) and sorta hook them under the plane. Then look up, hold onto my shoulder straps, and arch my back.

The plane door opened and I think I cussed. This part happened so fast that I’m not sure if I wanted to change my mind, but by the time my legs were out, I know I had changed my mind, and before I could very politely and calmly explain to Igor that I would not be falling out of the sky today, we were tumbling. I cussed some more I think, but mostly just screamed.

Someone asked me if it was like being at the top of a rollercoaster but more so, but it was nothing like a rollercoaster. The only way I know how to explain the sheer terror and adrenaline of it is to say it’s like that feeling you have when you think you’ve gone down all the stairs, but there’s one more step you missed, and you have a mini panic attack as your foot doesn’t find solid ground where it expected it. Times a zillion.

One thing I’d heard was that it’s over before you even know it, but I had a different experience. I think I lived a lifetime in about 30 seconds. I think I still might be up there somehow.

It was amazing and empowering, and the perfect way to celebrate some of the very difficult life changes I’ve made recently that completely knock out the status quo. For a very long time leading up to the split, I used ‘jumping’ as an analogy for going through with it. I was scared — so scared — that my ‘life chute’ wouldn’t open, and I would crash to the earth a broken and bloody mess.

It came to the point that not jumping became a scarier thought than letting go, so I got myself as prepared as possible. I did my safety checks. I talked to people that had done it before, and what their experiences had been. I examined the potential (and the certain) negative outcomes that would occur if I did this.

Ultimately, even though the actual skydiving was something I had wanted to, and planned to do — when it came to that split-second moment of truth, I didn’t want to go through with it. But a little push out the door led to feeling more alive than I ever have before, and I have no regrets.

I not only got some closure today for my broken marriage, but I got some weird closure for my broken relationship with My Pastor. If things hadn’t happened the way they did — if telling Leif I was leaving him had been left to me entirely — I honestly have no idea if I could’ve gone through with it.

I thought I could. I planned on it. I prepared for it. But could I have ‘jumped’ out of my marriage of my own volition? I don’t know anymore.

But I’m glad I did. Yes, there’s some terrifying freefalling at first when you feel like you’re inside a gyroscope and you’re spinning and the earth is spinning in the opposite direction around you … but then you’re flying.

Er, um … falling with style.

No regrets.