Monday, March 28, 2011


When I look up the definition of strength the definitions come up in this order.

1. Physical power: the physical power to carry out demanding tasks

2. Emotional toughness: the necessary qualities required to deal with stressful or painful situations

There are many more definitions that follow, but these two and their placements stood out to me.  I have needed a great deal of strength over the last many months and I have come to the conclusion that without having the physical power first, I would not have had the subsequent emotional toughness I needed to complete each task or to get through each trial that has been handed to me as of late.  It was an interesting realization.  In the past I never would have associated myself with any connotation of the word strong, and yet I find myself at times now defining the above two definitions of strength more often than not.

I have never been physically strong, even when I was younger and I played sports, I was not what would be considered "good".  In fact I got the best hustle award EVERY year in soccer.  Hey, if nothing else I was consistent.  I was a team player, and I played with my heart, but I wasn't a strong player.  I haven't really thought much about that until now.  I enjoyed playing, so I played.  I didn't care that I wasn't the best, it was never my goal to be the best.  Maybe it should have been, maybe I would have worked harder and been stronger if it was, but it wasn't.  We had other players that were great and they compensated for my weaknesses.  We subsequently almost never lost.  Maybe I would have felt differently if I had played on a losing team, but I doubt it, winning was great, but again playing was my ultimate goal.

Strength has never been my strong point.

Then there's the emotional strength.  HA!  Hahaha!  I couldn't, no wouldn't have been able to even tell you what that meant before November.  There was not an emotionally strong bone in my body.  I would cry at the drop of a pin, all it took was a sideways glance, a conversation started in the wrong tone of voice, or even less.  I was more like an emotional train wreck, but it was nothing new.  I had been that way my entire life.  Those who knew me either loved me for it or despite it depending on the day.  Looking back I can only wonder how and why, but it is not for me to judge why people put up with my emotional instability, only to be thankful they did so that I had the support to get to this point of reflection.

What I can tell you about strength is that I believe you have to have physical power before you can have emotional toughness.  Now I'm not saying I can go lift 1,000 lbs with my pinkie finger, what I mean is that there is a certain amount of actual physical power needed to be emotionally tough.  It takes a physical toll on your body (at least it does mine) to be at my strongest emotionally, and I am learning that the stronger my physical body is the better I can build my emotional strength.  If I am not as physically drained each time I need to be emotionally tough, the easier I find it to do the next time, and the next and the next.  You see where I'm going with this?

Our physical bodies and our minds are very much connected whether we realize it or not, whether we choose to believe it or not.  Think about the last time you cried, really sobbed, and how much energy it took.  Not only was that an emotional release, but a physical release as well.  Now consider how much physical strength it takes (that you don't even realize) to stay calm when you would rather cry, or scream, or simply give up completely and crawl back in bed.  How much more strength does it take to keep going

So when I say that I AM strong.  That I at times define strength.  I am not full of myself, I am not conceited, and I am not on my high horse.  I have come a very long way from the person I was when Curtis left for BCT, from the person I was before we ever started this journey and I have earned the right to BE strong, to exemplify strength in everything I say and do.  I may do it for my son, I may do it for my husband, but ultimately I do it for me, because if I don't do it for me first I cannot possibly do it for them next.

I will leave you with this to ponder...sometimes it takes the most strength to admit that you are at times weak and need the help of others....never be afraid to ask for help, you are only as strong as your greatest weakness.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I want to say a BIG thank you to my baby sister for all her help last week with G-man!  Gunnar was on spring break and my sister spent the week entertaining him, helping with homework, reading, and all around just being the Gr8Kate that she is!  I could not have gotten through last week without her help, she made it possible for me to get through a difficult week and keep everything peaceful and fun for Gunnar.  She road bikes and played basketball with him.  They built Lego's, this is always a Gunnar favorite!  She took him hiking and to Crackerjacks Amusement Park.  They went to see Mars Needs Moms at the movies and even a spring training baseball game!  I'm not sure who was more exhausted by the end of the week, but I know they both had a wonderful time and this mom/big sister could not be more grateful.


I don't think I tell you enough just how special you are and how much you mean to me.  How much respect I have for the person you are and the person you continue to become.  You are an amazing person with so much potential to do whatever you choose, and I cannot wait to see what decision you make with that wonderfully intriguing brain of yours.  You never cease to rise to any challenge, whether it's one you give yourself, or one someone else puts upon you.  You are strong, intelligent, beautiful inside and out, and you have a heart of gold.  I am now, always have been and always will be proud to call you my sister.  I am all too aware that you are fully grown, but "baby girl" is what you will be to me forever and always.  No matter how many miles may soon separate us, you will never be far from my heart.  I hope you remember all the great times we have enjoyed together, and I know there are plenty more where those came from.  As we've grown older our lives have gone in different directions, but my love for you has only grown in leaps and bounds with years, age and maybe even a little bit of wisdom thrown in.  Never forget that I am and always will be there for you even if I may be far away.  I love you more than my words can express Baby Girl, but I figured now was as good a time as any to try.

I love you forever,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 30-A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

Day 30-A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

Wow I cannot believe I am on the last day of the challenge...I know it has not been a continuous 30 day span, but I knew the timing would not allow for that.  I thank all of you who have gone through this journey with me.  I knew this challenge would be well, challenging, but I did not anticipate all of the emotion it would bring forth in me.  Some of these questions were easy for me to answer.  I know who has impacted my life the most, I know the people I will put my life on the line for, they are the same people that keep me alive each day and like the title says, they are the people giving me a little more life to live.  

Other questions were not nearly as simple to answer.  Whether is was because I had to first be honest with myself before I could write a blog for people to read addressing the topic at hand, or because I had to tackle demons from my past, or because I had to make my opinion known on subjects that are not popular conversation pieces, and my opinion is not widely viewed as politically correct.  Either way, I took the challenge to answer each question honestly and to the best of my ability.  I can truly say I did that and I do not regret taking this challenge.

This blog as you know is about victories, big and small, and although each topic may not have addressed a specific victory, completing the challenge and being raw and honest in it's entirety is my victory this time.  I learned a great deal about myself from this and I'm sure those of you who have followed along have learned quite a bit about me as well.  So I want to thank you for taking this journey with me, for learning and growing and not taking any of our victories, big or small for granted any longer.

And now, on with the show...the last topic, and a difficult one at that. Day 30-A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself.

Dear Jenni, 

I love you because you are genuine, you love those around you without conditions, without reason, without thought as to why they should "deserve" your love, or what you will gain in return.  I love that you trust, even to the point of hurt sometimes, because I still believe people should be trusted until they prove they cannot be.  I love that you are simple and yet still complex.  You are intelligent, and you have the ability to do things beyond your own comprehension, focus and realize that you are strong.  It's no longer a front.  I am so proud of you for all that you have learned about yourself and all that you have stepped up to do that you never would have even tried to do before.  I love you for being willing to finally take a chance and step out of your comfort zone to do not only what needed to be done, but what you know you wanted to do for Curt after all he's done for you.  It's not nearly enough, but it's a huge step in the right direction for a woman who previously wouldn't have even gone near the edge of the box, let alone outside it's walls that are so well known.  I love you for never giving up even when you wanted to.  I love you for making the smartest choice of your life when you chose your husband, because he truly is your soul mate and has been by your side every step of the way no matter how hard you pushed, pulled or otherwise.  It will always be your best decision.  I love you for finding it in you to let him love you no matter how unlovable you felt at times, it has brought you to where you are today and where you can accept his love for all that it is and all that is always has been and always will be.  I love you for doing your damnedest to be the best mother you can be, no matter how hard it gets, no matter how many times you get frustrated, remember he is your miracle baby and he is worth every frustration that comes with him.  Remember to breathe first, and use no as a last resort.  I know you will get there, Rome wasn't built in a day.  I love you for trying, I love you for meaning well even when you do say no, even when no comes out too often.  I love you for being you, for all your good qualities and all your flaws, I love you because you are uniquely you and no one else can do what you do, love like you love and be who you are to those around you.  I love you for taking the time to sit down and type this out, for understanding that you are lovable and you are loved.  The healthiest way to move forward in this wonderful new journey is to begin by loving you, so that you can accept the love of those around you.  It's time for a change, and what a better time than now, so tomorrow is a new day and each day I will remind myself that I love me for me and I don't need any other reason.

Love Always, 


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 29-Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.

Sorry I have NOT forgotten, life got in the way.  I will have an update when I am finished with this challenge

Day 29-Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.

I could swear I answered this question in a different form I having deja vu?
Guess I'll have to come up with a different answer this time ;-)

So another thing I would change about myself is how reactive I am.  It's something I have been thinking about a lot lately.  Mostly because it has been happening more and more.  I have always been this way, but it tends to rear it's ugly head more often when I am stressed, and I have had my share of stress as of late, as much as I would like to deny it.

I assume things before I ask questions and I react based on my assumptions.  This more often than not gets me in trouble, and causes conflict with those I love most.  I don't usually do it directly as much with people I don't know because I don't like conflict, and yet I find that I create most of the conflict I have in my life by being reactive instead of proactive.

I need to learn to take a few breaths and a step back from the situation BEFORE I make any judgments.  I need to ask questions FIRST and make sure I know all the details.  I have learned from experience that when I do this I have a MUCH better response from people and I am able to not only better control my reaction and that in turn changes the way the other person reacts to me.  It makes for a calmer, more productive conversation and a faster resolution.

Now if I can just figure out how to take the reaction trigger out and replace it with a proactive the mean time I will be doing a lot of deep breathing and stepping back and probably a fair amount of biting my tongue until I have better control.  The good news is practice makes perfect, and I have the rest of my life to practice.  Feel free to remind me to practice if you find me being reactive.  A friendly reminder never hurts.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 28 -What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?

Day 28 -What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?

Well we can do this 2 ways....I did get pregnant.  Curt and I were already planning on getting married.  I just happened to have a bit of a belly when we did and we decided to expedite things a bit.  It was a personal preference for us.  We knew we loved each other and wanted to be married and we had no need for a big wedding and we both wanted to be married when the baby (Gunnar) was born.  It was really that simple.  I was never supposed to have children, Gunnar was a shock and a HUGE blessing.  We were over the moon excited that I was even able to get pregnant and we both wanted to be parents.  The only question we ever had was what date to get married.
If I were to get pregnant would be a very scary and difficult situation.  There is no doubt in my mind (or Curt's I'm sure) that I would do everything humanly possible to keep the baby.  That being said, Gunnar was our miracle child and we have been told many, too many, times over, that to try again would most likely result in the loss of life.  Best case the baby, worst case both me and the baby.  So to make sure that Gunnar has a mommy as long as I have the ability to make the conscious choice to be one, and so that Curt never has to choose between me and our child, we make sure not to get pregnant.  After the 3rd or 4th doctor it was a pretty easy decision.  We know our other options, foster care, adoption.  We've gone rounds with the idea of foster care and I always come back to the same conclusion....I am not strong enough to give back a child I have loved.  As for adoption, it's not in the cards for us now, but you just never know what the future will hold.  I won't rule anything out.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day 27- What's the best thing going for you right now?

Day 27- What's the best thing going for you right now?

I have a lot going for me right now.  I know I would not have said the same thing this time last year, but this is a whole new life we are living now.  It amazes me how much has changed in such a short time.  I have tons of amazing people in my life, from my family and friends that I see day to day, to a support system of Army wives, fiances and girlfriends, some I have met and some I have yet to meet, but all who I couldn't do this without.  I have a job I love, that is also allowing me the flexibility to take care of my son while Curt is training.  I have an amazing kid who meets the challenges of his dad being gone with great character and wonderful charisma, and I have a husband training his heart out to serve and protect our freedom, our country and all of our families. I have a marriage that after 7 years is better than ever, and although I never once pictured this would be my life at any age, I am happier at 30 than I have ever been.

So when I'm asked what the best thing I have going for me is, I cannot simply pick one.  They are all part of a bigger picture.  You see, without one I would not have the other, and so on.  So if you want to look st the bigger picture, the Army has brought most of this into our lives, or it has accentuated the positive things we already had.  Yet I am not saying the Army is to get all the credit here.  We made this decision together, it is the path we chose, I am simply saying it was the right path for us at the right time in our lives and I believe that all of the good things coming from that decision are proof of that.  I've said it before and I'll say it here again.  Everything happens for a reason.  

No matter what though, the best thing going for me will always and forever be my family.  Nothing will ever top that!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 26-Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?

Day 26-Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?

I'll be completely honest here.  This is a question I would rather not answer, but I committed to this, so I will.  I don't feel the need to go into great detail.  The past is the past for a reason.  I know that I have learned from my past and the people that have helped me through my darkest hours know that I am in a MUCH better place now.  That is what truly matters.

The honest answer is yes.  I don't believe the why and when actually matter that much.  I believe what really matters it that I am still here.  It takes much more courage to get through the time or times you feel you want to give up than it does to actually act on or commit the act of giving up.  True courage is fighting through the hard times, no matter how bad they are so you can make it to the next good times because before you know it the good times become great times.

I was raised with the understanding that the most selfish act a person can commit is suicide.  I believe this to be true, even in my darkest hours, what kept me alive was the thoughts of how deeply I would hurt those I love if I were to hurt or kill myself.  The thoughts of the lifetime of damage I would do to my son if he were to have to live no only without a mother, but with the stigma of having a mother who committed such a heinous act.  Thoughts of how Curt would feel, or how he would raise our son, the child we created together, alone.  Thoughts of my parents and my sister and how angry they would be, and then how hurt, and then angry again.  I don't think my family would ever be able to completely grieve a loss of that type because of how they feel about this subject.  I don't believe they would ever get over the anger and hurt and be able to fully grieve that loss.

I can say this all in hindsight, but at the time I just knew now matter what, now matter how much I hurt, now matter how hard I believed things were, there was another way, a better way.  So whatever I thought about, I want to make it clear, I never acted on any of these thoughts.  The bottom line is I love my family too much to hurt them like that and I know that they will always be there to get me through.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Day 25-The reason you believe you're still alive today

Day 25-The reason you believe you're still alive today

This is has a simple answer, and yet it is very complex in it's nature.  The simple answer is, I have not finished doing what I was put here to do.  I'm not done being a wife and mother.  I truly believe with all of my being that is my primary purpose for being here.  I am a wife and mother first, I am everything else second.

I believe that in no uncertain terms these two amazing guys have save my life and they are the reason I am still here.  So I can take care of them to the best of my ability, and so that I can learn from them how to be a better me.  They teach me everyday how to be stronger, how to love deeper and how to try harder.

I know for certain my work here is not done.  I am not done raising Gunnar, and I have only begun to show Curt that I can be, will be, and AM, the wife he deserves through this journey we call life, and we are just beginning.  We may have been together for 9 years, but it's like we've been given a new start and I plan to make the most of it.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Day 24-Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)

Day 24-Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)


Ice Ice Baby-Vanilla Ice
Indian Outlaw-Tim McGraw
Kryptonite-The Better Life
Drops Of Jupiter-Train
This Cowboy's Hat-Chris LeDoux
Good Morning Beautiful-Brad Paisley 
Crazy-Lee Brice
The Breath You Take-George Strait
Regulate-Warren G
Live Like You Were Dyin-Tim McGraw
Cowboys and Angels-Garth Brooks
Fishin in the Dark-Garth Brooks
Proud of the House We Built-Brook and Dunn
Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue-Toby Keith
American Soldier-Toby Keith
God Bless The U.S.A.-Lee Greenwood
He Get's That From Me-Reba McEntire

Hey Babe,
Ok, you know there are probably 100+ more songs I could add to this, but these stood out either because they are prominent songs for our relationship, our family or because they remind me of you.  I'm sure you can guess most of them just by looking, but I'll tell you why anyway.  Amazed is clear, it's our song.  It's the first song we ever danced to and the first song we ever kissed to.  It also says exactly how I feel about you.  You found a tape, yes we are going waaaay back here to cassette tapes, of Vanilla Ice in my car and you have played Ice Ice Baby ever since to the point that our 6 year old knows the words by heart and asks to listen to it.  We must be the only people in the world with Ice Ice Baby on our Ipods!!  Ahhh, Indian Outlaw.  When I was so in love and gullible I believed everything you said.  Including when you grinned from ear to ear and said that a Chikiwawa was a little white girl with blond hair and blue eyes.  Now I will always be your Chikiwawa.  When I here Kryptonite I always think of you because you will always be my Superman, you always have been, and no Kryptonite can keep you down.  Drops Of Jupiter and Hopeless by Train were songs we could listen to over and over on our longest car rides.  I still love those songs and I think I always will.  They bring back such great memories.  There are a lot of Chris Ledoux songs, but This Cowboy's Hat not only reminds me of you, I can always picture you singing it and I love the sound of your voice when you do.  It's not that often that you sing along, you usually just watch me (and laugh).  Good Morning Beautiful by Brad Paisley is a song that will always remind me of you.  Even from 900+ miles away you manage to still wake me up with the same words almost every morning.  You not only say it but you mean it, and you have taught our son the same.  He tells me on a daily basis how beautiful I am, even when I think I'm not.  It's an amazing feeling to know that the most important men in my life truly believe I am beautiful no matter what.  Crazy by Lee Brice, I sent the lyrics from this song to you while you were in basic because I want to live this song.  I want to be your best friend, tell the truth, overuse I love you and love like crazy!  The Breath You Take is a George Strait song that talks about a dad and his son and how the dad is always putting his son above all else.  I can't think of a song that describes you better as a father.  Regulate by Warren G, of all my ode to the 90's on my Ipod, this is the one song you love.  As much as you love to laugh at my 90's music you can never resist Warren G! Live Like You Were Dyin, I will always remember dancing in a HUGE circle at your brothers wedding to this song and everyone singing at the top of our lungs.  That's when this song took on a whole new meaning for me.  The meaning I think it was meant to have, but non the less, it will always have great meaning and great memories of you and your family for me.  Cowboys and Angels always makes me think of you because you will always be my cowboy.  Rockstar because you laugh when I jam out and sing at the top of my lungs with the I love you fingers instead of the devil horns because I can never seem to place my fingers in the right spots.  Fishin in the Dark, this one is for Gunnar, because not only is it his favorite song, but he makes us listen to it over and over, and he plays it for us on his guitar!  How many 6 year olds do that?!  Funhouse by Pink, another one for Gunnar, because he love to play it over and over and I will never forget when we realized he was singing the whole song word for word....including the end!  The Brooks and Dunn song, Proud of the House We Built because it's not just about the house we have but the family we've built to put in it, and I am so proud to be your wife.  Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue and American Soldier by Toby Keith and God bless the USA by Lee Greenwood took on a whole new meaning to me when you joined the Army.  I am amazed at the soldier you have become and I am so proud to have you as my husband fighting for our family and our country.  I love you more every day.  He Get's That From Me by Reba McEntire

I love you truly madly deeply

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 23-Something you wish you had done in your life

There are a lot of things I wish I had done in my life, or maybe I wish I had done differently.  Yet again, I come to the fact that I believe everything happens for a reason.  If any one thing in my life had been altered I truly believe it would have altered every aspect of my life from that moment on.

I do wish I had done better in school when I was younger.  I do wish I had gone to college, but I still don't know what I want to do, so I don't see how going then would have done much good, except maybe for an AA in general studies.  It wouldn't have been the worst thing to be married, and then get pregnant, but ya know I don't do things by the book ;-)

One thing I can say I would have really liked to have done, is be more financially responsible.  I wish I had known then what I know now, and how my past financial mistakes would effect my families future for so many, many years to come. 

I realize that it took making the mistakes to get where I am now, but it would be so nice to be one of those people who is just naturally good with money.  Someone who never has to think twice about which bill should get paid first or which should get the lump sum if/when there is extra to put somewhere.  I wish I was one of those people who could easily say "no I don't need that, I need to save for x" or I need to do x with my money and not spend it on a million little things that add up so quickly.  I wish I could think quickly about needs first and wants second and not be so impulsive.  I wish it was simply ingrained in me, like it is in some.

I know I am doing better, but that doesn't change the past.  It doesn't change the damage that has already been done, and that will last for years to come.  The guilty that comes with knowing that if I had done things differently from the beginning we would be in a different place financially, that maybe things would have gone differently in our lives. 

Then I think about where our lives are right now, and no matter what road we had to take to get here, I am so grateful that we are here.  I wouldn't change it for the world.  I know it has been a rough road at times, but we have learned so much along the way and our family and our marriage has grown because of it.  These are the kind of reasons I believe everything happens for a reason.  What if everything had come so easily to me...where would I be now?  I don't think I would be here.  I know I wouldn't be taking this challenge, typing this blog and reflecting on my past and looking forward to my future in a way I never expected to.

So no matter how much I wish I had done something one way, or not done something another, I am grateful for where my life is and where my life is headed, and if I had to do it all over again to get to this point I would.  I have learned an immense amount, but more than anything I have learned to stop making the same mistake twice and figure out what the lesson is the first time around so I can avoid some of the BS in the future!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 22-Something you wish you hadn't done in your life.

I know I've said it before, but I really am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, so that makes this a bit difficult to answer.

That being said, I think I can honestly say I wish I hadn't slacked off so much in high school.  I wish I had taken it more seriously, and focused more.  It's not that I spent high school parting the days away, I actually worked through high school.  It was more that I was not good in school, and since I was not good at it, little kept my interest.  Funny, I see now the exact opposite in my son.  He far exceeds his classmates and gets bored, and little keeps his interest.  It's interesting how two so opposite issues can have the same reaction.  Sorry, I've gotten a bit off track.

I wish I had paid more attention in high school.  I wish I hadn't seen it as such a social event, even though I don't recall being entirely social, so much as just wanting to figure out where I fit in.  I'm not sure I ever did figure that out either for all of my trying.  In fact it has taken my into my 30th year to start to figure out who I am, or at least who I want to be.  I can say for a fact I know who I don't want to be!

I really do believe everything happens for a reason, I think I had to experience high school the way I did, so that I can look back and know what to change when I do finally get back to school I can focus.  I know that part of getting through school for me is making sure that I choose something I am going to enjoy.  I am also old enough to know that no matter how much I like something there will always be aspects of what I do that I am not going to be fond of.  I have learned that for me it is best to focus on what I enjoy and find a way to "suck up" that which I am not fond of so that I can be more productive.

So really, as great as it would be to go back and get all A's in high school, if the truth be told, you could not pay me enough to go through that again!  The awkwardness and the constant fighting.  Never knowing who was your friend and who was your enemy from one day to the next.  Always changing to try to fit in with the current group, always following, never leading.  Nope, not for me!  I would much rather learn from my past and apply it to my future.  I have no desire to repeat high school or my mistakes from high school. 

That's why we live and we learn.  The important thing is to make sure we do learn.  I guess only time will tell if I have learned all I needed to know from my high school days.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Day 21-(scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?

Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?

This is easy.  People fight.  I wouldn't love my best friend any less because we had a fight.  In fact I would be a complete wreck and horrified that the last things we said to each other we not loving words.  This is actually a big fear of mine.  Losing someone I love, or having them get injured, and having the last conversation with them have been something hurtful.  It's the reason I am usually the first one to apologize after an argument, and the reason I end all my conversations with "I love you".

I can tell you I would be headed straight to wherever my friend was, whether I needed to get there by car, bus, plane or train.  Nothing would be stopping me from being by my friends side. 

I think this one is pretty cut and dry for me.  I don't hold grudges, I love with all of myself there is to give.  A fight, big or small, would never keep me from being with someone I care about in their time of need.  Be it a car accident, a sickness, or a bad day.  It's just how I am.  Life is too short to dwell on a fight or argument.  Get it out, get past it and move on, don't let it stand in between you and the people you love.