love grows as the family expands

i wish you could have seen my mom’s face when she met odin for the first time yesterday!  life has become so difficult for her, but when she saw odin, she broke out in a smile that silently shouted out her abundant bliss. her eyes danced and filled with tears – the emotions in the room were powerful.  it’s been such a joy having odin bless our days.

we took odin for his first swim in the village pool – my dad got in with the gang, while my mom watched.  it was the perfect temperature for a newborn.  too warm for most, as the temperature is set for seniors, who love their water to be warmer than average – but perfect for little odin who probably thought he was in a giant bathtub.

after the swim, we sat around visiting and taking turns holding the tiny little man – i call him a little man because he seems so wise. needless to say we were all in heaven, but my parents were particularly pleased having so many of their children, grand children and their newest great grandchild all in the same room.

the highlight of the evening was when grandma mustered all her strength to hold odin, and watching ren and eric trust her as she held him oh so tightly.  odin was calm and willing, as if he knew and understood her insecurities. it wasn’t easy for her, but you could feel her heart open and all the love she has for him come pouring out of her frail body all at once. beautiful, oh so beautiful.

our hearts opened too.  and we sat there crying, watching and connecting, all four generations of the jen family in one room with my mom, dad and precious odin in the center of it all.


love can expand and transform, with time, patience and understanding.

little odin arrived today!  there is nothing as joyful as a newborn to bring everyone together.  we laughed, giggled and oodled, and then laughed some more.  i didn’t want to see him go down for his nap.

he’s only two months old, but he seems so alert, and fully aware and curious of his new surroundings.  ren and eric are so calm and in tune with his needs.  it’s no wonder he’s such a good baby.

this was the first time we gathered as a family with brian and i no longer the perfect, married couple. it was very much as i had envisioned it – he and i enjoying each and every precious moment with our beautiful children and grandchild.  you could so naturally feel the love.  i sympathized with how he may have been feeling differently with our new relationship, but as i focused on simply loving them all, grateful for our blessings, i could see that it is possible for love to never end.



amidst the struggle and the pain, there is always the beauty – life is a giant mystery

and then she surprises us and today she’s able to get on the stationary bike and cycle for ten minutes!

my mom’s condition is the constant reminder that life is a mystery and that some things are simply out of our control. as much as i would love to fix her, wave a magic wand and make her feel better, i can’t.

just as her weakness takes over and the pain increases, just as i’m giving up, just as i listen to my dad’s fears, just as i look into her eyes and see her heart open and tell me it’s time…

she finds the strength to get on a bike and pedal.

my mom is the strongest person on earth.

she is such an inspiration.

when we pause and see the goodness, the beauty, the light, the love, somehow the struggle is where we learn.  and gosh darn, she’s just not going to give up, cuz there is tomorrow…and well

tomorrow is a big day…. baby odin arrives and i have a feeling my mom’s going to feel a lot better then.

as the pain increases, one has to wonder

my mom’s struggles continue.  complications with her digestion are increasing and she has no way of communicating exactly what she wants.  it’s one of the most frustrating experiences to be around.  is she feeling constipated? is she struggling with gas?  is she suffering from severe cramps?  is it heartburn?  is it her stomach, or her intestines?

we’ve tried giving her a writing pad, but her handwriting is a complete scribble; we’ve tried having her point to various phrases, words, letters, but her eyes can’t seem to focus.  we’ve tried an app on the iPad that speaks when she points to common phrases.  but she isn’t able to steady her hand enough to be precise in her pointing, and she ends up pointing at a multiple of phrases and sounding like a robot gone crazy.

she doesn’t know how to  let us know what she wants.  i hate to see her in pain, and i find myself wondering if she’s holding on just so she can see baby odin.  they arrive late friday night, and i know his smile will make her day explode with joy.

she now has a bedsore that doesn’t seem to be improving.  we have a wound specialist coming to take a look tomorrow.  it’s clear to me that her skin is getting increasingly thin. she’s getting weaker and spending more time in bed, increasing her chances of more sores, and the deterioration of the existing sore.  this is not the way she ever wanted to live.

i pray for things to improve for her, but honestly, this disease is a wicked, steady decline in all areas of one’s body and life. i love her so much, and as i hold her close, i know she wants to tell me it’s time to go, but maybe i’m only imagining those words, as i listen to her pain through her silent scream.

i look into her eyes, i listen to her heart, and i can hear her never-ending love but i also hear her sadness.

i tell my children, if i ever were to get this way , i hope there will be a way for me to bow out gracefully, tell them i love them, close my eyes and go to sleep forever.





i see myself in you

i stood there. under the night sky.

you filled me with hope. you told me i would be fine. you wrapped me in your light and covered me as if you understood, as if you knew the sadness i’d been living all these years.

i knew i wasn’t alone. i knew you from before. i knew you’d been with me all my life. but there were nights that i had missed you. because i’d forgotten to look up. i was so focussed on the mess, so focussed on the loss, so focussed on what i wanted it to be, but couldn’t find.

he would never be who i wanted him to be. i would never have the love i so craved, the love i lost.

but there you were so full, so bright, so pure and oh so beautiful.

everything you touched was new. everything you touched came to life. i was going to be fine. i had just left the man who’d been in my life for over 41 years, broken and lost. how could i do that? how could i leave someone who loved me so? but he was never going to leave the house. he couldn’t. and i wanted to live. i needed to find myself.

i looked up and saw you. so bright. so clear.

i wanted so to shine my light and connect. i wanted to make a difference, i wanted to be moved, and there you were moving me and touching me in ways i never knew.

you were full that night, so full of love, of light, of life. i knew i was doing the right thing. i knew i could love myself enough to make the decision to leave the house, the man who was keeping me from living a full life. i looked up and i could see your light connect with mine, i could see that i could touch you and be moved by you, i knew i could learn to live as full as you, as big and bright and sweet as you.

i thanked you for the gift as you smiled down at me, quiet and pure. you bathed me in your love. you smiled and filled my heart with joy, you filled me with hope, a life fulfilled.

seeing divorce in a new loving light

it’s not that i’m walking away from something beautiful.  and it’s not that i’m walking away from something horrible.

to put it simply, i’m not walking away.

i’m choosing to focus my positive energy on loving myself.

a dear friend asked me the other day if i read the paper everyday.  i do not. it’s a conscious choice i make not to ‘engage’ in the details of what’s happening in the world.  instead of reading the whole paper, i skim. i want to stay abreast of what’s happening in the world, but i choose not to know the details.  the details are too negative for me to bear everyday.

do i love this world?  yes!

do i love the details that are happening in this world?  no.

because i don’t like the details, i choose not to focus on the details, and instead i focus on the things i love about the world, and change the things that are within my control to change.

do i love this man who has been in my life for 41 years?  yes!

do i love the details that are happening in his life as they relate to me?  no.

i don’t have to try and change anything about him – that is out of my control. but i can focus on myself, love myself, and know that in caring for myself, i continue to learn and to grow.





a virgin adventure, like a first anything in life, glows within us forever

my sweet friend ashley, asked if i wanted to come with her to a sacred fire.  having never been to one before, and being in the delightful position of saying ‘yes’ to life, i promptly agreed to go.

there were eight of us sitting around the most magnificent fire under a sky as clear as could be with bright stars that seemed within our reach and the sound of the ocean waves smacking the cliffs down below. ashley was the only person i knew, but somehow i felt at total ease with everyone, as if i’d known them from an earlier life.

marie, our hostess, was this beautiful woman whose calm and peace was simply contagious, like you just wanted to linger and absorb her serenity.  she reminded me of a native indian wise one with long gray strands of thick hair braided down her back.  i was later to learn that she was from sweden.  i laughed at how my mind so easily casts people before i’m even aware of it happening.

we have all experienced the busyness of life, the craziness, the feeling of being stuck and overwhelmed, but when we sat around this fire, the warmth just melted away any stress, and gradually we could only hear nature and the crackle of the fire. you could sense our hearts open to the spirits of the sky, the earth and the fire, and you could feel an interconnectedness to not only each other, but to that of all things in the world.

we each took turns sharing stories and listening to the challenges and intentions of our lives. somehow i felt deeply connected with these people i had only just met.  we are not alone, we are all connected.  my eyes filled with tears, and i could feel my heart sing as i listened to the sparks of the fire transform into embers and ashes, and the crackle become a gentle hum, as quiet as the glow of the remaining log as it breathed in the last of our treasured stories. nature listens

we are each simply part of nature, with minds that can spin, and hearts that can listen.