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.

Blueberry Farming

blueberry group shotRemember I had that list of things to do before I turned 30? Well late is better than never, right?

Besides, if ever there was an excuse for putting something off temporarily, the total implosion of a marriage might be it. That or death. Or just plain laziness. But it was definitely the marriage thing in this case.

So here I am, a day late, but not a dollar short (metaphorically at least — this chica is on a budget), and I’m back to trying to do some of the things on my list because gosh darn it — life is for living.

C running through blueberriesVisit a ‘You Pick’ orchard and pick too much fruit

Last week, one of my BFF’s Nancy and I packed up all six of our kids and visited a blueberry farm. That’s two car seats, two boosters, half a bottle of sunblock, 12 shoes that are bugging at least seven feet, and that’s only because the other five have been kicked off at some point. Oh, and two mamas with cameras. And cameras I mean iPhones. Because it’s 2013.

So we got the place and sauntered shambled in to find out how the process worked. Each kid was given a small bucket. Each bucket had a capacity of two pints. Each pint cost $5. Six kids, six buckets, sixty dollars.

YOU MAY ONLY FILL YOUR BUCKETS LESS THAN HALFWAY!

We screamed that at them as they tore off down the rows of blueberry bushes.

We needn’t have worried.

blueberry spoilsI’m going to go ahead and guess that blueberries are friggin expensive because they’re so dang hard to collect. After 10 minutes or so, the kids all had at least three blueberries each.

Eventually we ended up with four pints of blueberries altogether, which may or may not have been too many, but when you think about it … who can have too many blueberries?

And if you do, you put them in the freezer and make pie out of them in December.

P.S. The kids pretended they were ninja power ranger super spy blueberry farmers. They had a blast.

P.P.S. The majority of them declared afterward that they hate blueberries and how dare we suggest they eat them.

Princess Ponderings — What’s Up with Sleeping Beauty?

The Ladies

There are all sorts of super heavy things to think about right now, what with Sandy wiping out the eastern seaboard, and oh yeah, that presidential election happening next week. Rather than tear my hair out or eat my feelings, I’ve been occupying my mind with other things, like which Disney Princess is the best?

As I was mentally taking stock of their various attributes and accomplishments, it occurred to me that I have no use for Sleeping Beauty, even though I thought I loved her because she wears pink and I like her fairy godmother code name — Briar Rose.

But really, what did she actually accomplish?

Ok, so my really real favorite is Ariel, because hi, she lives in the OCEAN and I love the BEACH. And the red hair connection. Also, chick was brave to sell her voice for some gams to chase her dreams of living in the human world. Don’t let anyone tell you no when you know you can do something.

There’s Snow White, who had to deal with a pyscho stepmom that hired a hit man to carve her heart out of her chest. Then she had to clean up after seven coal miners. Ok, diamond miners, but it’s all carbon anyway. Despite that, she never lost her kind and gentle spirit. I would’ve raised my eyebrow at that bitch with the apple and said, “You first.”

Cinderella is classic rags to riches story — the gentile lady forced to act as a scullery maid after her father dies and leaves her with the evil steps. Girl worked her hiney off. I would’ve let Prince Philip take me away too.

Tiana is the one princess I’m unfamiliar with, but I hear she has something to do with frogs and learning to accept the quirks of life — like being turned into a frog.

Belle showed tremendous sacrifice when she promised to stay with the beast to save her father. That’s character.

Pocahontas showed the white man how to paint with all the colors of the wind. And you know, like respect nature and stuff.

Jasmine wasn’t too snooty to fall in love with a street rat. She knew that looks can be deceiving, and she was more concerned with what was in someone’s heart rather than the crown on their head.

Rapunzel is the latest and the favorite of my girls. Girl was kept prisoner for eighteen years after being kidnapped as a baby. She finally escaped and found happiness.

Mulan? Saved China.

But what did Sleeping Beauty do? She lived with her three awesome fairy godmothers in a cute little cottage in the woods before pricking her finger and taking a nap.

What’s that about?

10 DAYS!!!

I may be getting punchy toward the end.

I made a new friend!

Steak and Emails

Yesterday in Tampa, I ordered a medium rare steak. On the rare side. It was just a steak kind of day. I’m usually a pretty easy-going kind of girl, but when it comes to meat, I tend to be a wee bit finicky. And everyone that knows me well is laughing right now, because by ‘finicky’ I mean that I will cry if my steak is overdone, and it is one of two reasons I will ever send something back to the kitchen. The other is mayo, because I seriously can’t stand the stuff.

Anyway, I’ve been known to send my steak back. One time at Flemings the chef even came out to my table, because the first time it was overdone, the second time it was almost completely raw, and the third time he wanted to make sure he got it right. Hey, I’m relaxed about a lot of stuff — everyone has a thing, and this is mine.

So Yummy

So back to this steak I ordered in Tampa. It was perfect, first time out. I may have shed a tear of happiness. So I did what I always do when I’m overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of something I’m about to eat, and I took a picture to send to someone I knew would appreciate it. In this case, it was my husband, because poor dude has been on the other side of the table many of the times my steaks have disappointed.

He was still at work back in California, so I emailed him the picture, with the subject line, “Food Porn.”

He wrote back, “Mooooooooooo!”

Then I said, “I love you,” because he made me laugh and I wanted him to know I appreciated his humor and appreciation for my lovely dinner.

He said, “I looooooove you … How many wives send their husbands porn at work?”

Because that’s how we roll.

Eavesdropping on Jenny & Ashley August 14, 2012

Last Friday, as Ashley and I were doing show prep for Top 7, we were cracking each other up (as usual). “You know,” I said, “We could probably just record our conversations and put them on the Internet and they’d entertain people.”

“We should do that!” Ashley exclaimed, and thus Eavesdropping on Jenny & Ashley was born.

Every Monday through Thursday, we’re going to record a 30-minute conversation, and play it at 8pm Pacific on the same channel on Blog Talk Radio as Top 7. Come be a fly on the wall for our sometimes insightful, usually inane, always hilarious conversations.

Happy listening!

Listen to internet radio with Top 7 on Blog Talk Radio

My Love Affair With Sandwiches

Gooey Deliciousness

So I have a thing for sandwiches. Especially grilled sandwiches with melty cheesey goodness. The Caprese with pesto and balsamic reduction from Austin Daily Press is enough to make me consider moving to Texas. It’s in the ‘pro’ column, at least, along with the lack of state income tax. On the ‘con’ side is that it’s so hot that, as Ashley succinctly put it once, you feel like your skin is going to melt off. Anyway.

Last summer in Minneapolis, I found myself at Hell’s Kitchen, and glancing at the menu in my hand, saw the words “award winning sandwich.” Done. And oh boy, that was an amazing sandwich. The ham and pear crisp is worth the kajillion calories you’ll have to burn to stay in your skinny jeans. Ok, maybe just half a sandwich. I really don’t like working out.

My go-to local sandwich is from Which Wich, a chain that specializes in multiple, seemingly limitless options. I get the buffalo chicken sandwich with blue cheese and caramelized onions. Toasted, because duh. I like sandwiches, what can I say? So I was flitting around facebook last week I saw an ad for a food truck festival at the San Diego Fairgrounds. FOOD TRUCKS! AND CRAFT BEER! So in. So I went, and that was where I had one of the most insanely delicious, and definitely the most insanely expensive sandwich I’ve ever had.

My mouth is totally watering in this picture.

The festival was at the San Diego Fairgrounds, which houses the Del Mar Racetrack, which is our version of the Kentucky Derby. Horse racing. Parking was $10. Then I had to pay to get in, even though I wasn’t there for the horses – another $6. I wandered for a bit narrowing down my choices, and finally settled on a lobster grilled cheese on sourdough with tomato and caramelized onion from Devilicious — $12 bucks.

Yes, I essentially paid $28 for a sandwich. Was it worth it? Maybe not everyday, but I did find out that Devilicious posts their scheduled whereabouts online, and occasionally they’re in my hood. Besides, after paying all that for a sammich, I felt practically frugal buying a $9 Mermaid’s Red from Coronado Brewing Company.

 

If you know any great sandwich shops in the San Diego area, let me know about them in the comments!

Mr. Machete Espouses Republican Ideals … Then Bashes Republicans

Enjoying Balboa Park with Thing 1

Last Saturday, my mom and I took the girls to Balboa Park in celebration of Mother’s Day. We started the day at the farmer’s market, gathering yummies for a picnic lunch, then we went to the Titanic exhibit (Thing 2 declared, “Uh-oh, that boat broked!”), and capped off the trip with a stroll through the park to enjoy the street performers.

I love street performers. As a general rule, I never give money to beggars (sometimes a sack lunch, but not money), but to performers that have worked hard to perfect a craft that they use to entertain and delight people? I’m all for supporting that.

One performer caught our eye, so we wandered over. Dude was juggling machetes. It was pretty cool. Even cooler was when he hopped on a giant unicycle and juggled the massive knives some more, albeit a bit more cautiously this time. S’ok, Mr. Machete, you can juggle those giant sharp things as carefully as you like while riding the six-foot unicycle. I won’t judge.

While he was entertaining the crowd, he mentioned that he would be passing around a hat, and it would be nice if people contributed.

Let me interrupt myself for a minute to tell you that earlier in the performance, he had made a derogatory George Bush joke. It was not well received. He said, “Wow, I knew San Diego was a pretty conservative town, but George Bush! Come on!” More silence, to which he said, “It’s like I’m in Utah,” and moved on.

So he’s up on the unicycle, telling the crowd that it had always been his dream to do this, and our contributions were what made him able to do this, and that in America, anyone can have a dream and work hard and achieve their goals. Total Republican stuff.

As he juggled, the hat was passed, and he asked us to contribute what we could. “If you’re a Republican, put twenty dollars in and prove to me that trickle down economics works!” I was half-tempted to do so, and then ask for a ten back, because as a Democrat (I assume, since he was bagging on Republicans), he should totally be in favor of wealth redistribution, and I needed that ten to give to the beggar down the block.

People need to pay more attention to party platforms. Republicans want you to be able to work hard and keep as much of your money as you can. Democrats like to redistribute your wealth to cowboy poets and postmenopausal yoga classes.