Category Archives: Jennspeak


Look at all these vigil candles. Some are lit. Some have lived their life and now we can no longer see their flame. They all represent some some hope, some desire, some yearning. There is a peace and a comfort in their light. Yet their course is not entirely steady. In some candles, the flame dances around violently, struggling against some unknown air current. Others burn quietly and steadily. Some have char and debris littering the wax, while others are clean and pure with no blemishes. Some have burned cleanly all the way down, while others have left deposits of themselves — large gobs of wax — along the side of the candleholder. While one is beautiful, all of them assembled together is inspiring. They are like God’s people. Each individual flame was lit by the hands of someone else. Each one contains Christ’s light. There are no expectations of a candle, other than it shine that light.



I’m a white female. Or, technically, I’m bi-racial, being both Native American and Caucasian. But I look white and people generally treat me as such, and I typically identify as Caucasian.


Can I even enter into this conversation with any sense of legitimacy?

I don’t know.

I certainly don’t know what it’s like to be black in our culture. Or Latina or most any other minority group. I can’t talk about their experiences, or the prejudices they face, or the struggles that they have, or even the best way to fix these problems.

I don’t have any answers.

What I know is that every person is made in the image and likeness of God, and because of this we are all equal in dignity, have a right to life, and need to be treated as what we are: the holiest thing you will ever encounter in your life apart from God Himself.

Every person.

Doesn’t matter your skin color, religion, able-bodiedness/disability, mental acuity, or whatever.

I don’t spend a lot of time reading the news or catching up on current events, but I have heard a lot lately about cases of suspected [I say this because I think they are still under investigation] police brutality and unjust use of lethal force against some African-Americans.

If this is true, and it seems like there is pretty solid evidence that it is, at least in this most recent case, my heart is breaking.

It’s unimaginably horrible to think that there are people who are afraid of going outside their homes. Afraid of being pulled over or stopped in the street. Of paying for a small infraction with their lives because of their skin color.

While white people who are seemingly guilty of horrible crimes beyond a shadow of the doubt are being acquitted and their good attributes are touted in the media; whereas for the black offenders, every rule they have ever broken since that time when they pulled Susie’s hair in 2nd grade is being published for the masses to see and use to justify whatever was done.

I don’t understand.

It is too easy in our society to marginalize people for the reason of the day.

Right now, it seems to be skin color. But tomorrow it could be Catholics, or Hispanics, or obese people, or whatever.

If I were persecuted, I would be afraid. I would be enraged. I would not understand why every other person in society was not on my side, fighting with me for justice. I would seek out other members of the group is was in which was being persecuted and I would identify with them perhaps even more. There is strength in numbers. There is a voice in numbers.

I am just a white girl. I know nothing. But I do know that #BlackLivesMatter

Love is not a feeling. Love is a choice. You may not like people of other races. You may have prejudices. Your heart could not be where it needs to be. But it’s what you DO, and how you ACT which really matters.

Choose to love people the same.

We are all people.

We all deserve love.

I typically stay silent on matters because I feel that my voice is not welcome. Or that I’ll offend others. Or that it’s not really my place to say anything.

Well, I think too many of us are silent. These are our brothers and sisters. These are MY brothers and sisters. And I am angry, heartbroken, and repulsed by what I’ve seen and heard.

Discussion is welcome. Please comment below.


Creating Habits

I really envy people who have rigidly disciplined lives. I would love to be one of those people who have a comfortable routine.

But I’m not.

My life is rather chaotic, actually. I can’t think of a single thing I do consistently. And I know that a certain level of self-discipline and routine are healthy, especially for one’s spiritual life, but I never manage to make it work. I’m not sure why, but something always gets in the way. I make lofty plans and then things fall through. Life happens.

But I try again. It’s like an epic struggle against entropy. We know that entropy will always win, but we make the effort anyway.

So…. Why am I thinking of this?

I want to keep my blogs up to date. Not that I have any real expectation that anyone reads them, but more for myself. So that I can read about my life and know that I did things and loved people and *lived*. But blogging is not a habit. I don’t have a time set aside where I do this. I don’t have a schedule or a method or a whatever. But I’d like to.

Perhaps I can start creating habits by baby steps. Like taking 5 minutes a day to write a post. πŸ™‚

Top Five Things About Right Now:

1. My hands really hurt. I have some weird form of eczema and in the winter my skin freaks out. Fissures split and bleed and little itchy bumps are everywhere. It is painful. All the time. Every day. For the past few weeks, I’ve had a little patch on my right pinky finger that is akin to a dime-sized burn. Ow! Can I please have it be Spring already?

2. I am *still* sipping on my Venti Mocha. According to the label, I bought it at 10:18 am, and now it’s 6:33 pm. This is typical for me. Large coffee, but really not that much when you consider how incredibly long it takes for me to drink it.

3. I have a ringing in my ears. I’ve learned to deal with it, but there it is. When I pay attention to it, I think of silt… you know, that fine sand. I’m not sure why, but this is always my image for it.

4. I have a lot of things that I’d like to do around the house, but I have a feeling that I’m just going to have dinner, watch TV and go to bed. Rinse, repeat. Hopefully, I’ll get to bed early tonight, since I’ll be working early tomorrow.

5. Tomorrow is payday. Payday means I will finally replace my comforter and be able to sleep with more than just a feather blanket. Oh, the exciting things…. πŸ™‚

Bonus… Remind me to charge my camera battery. I have photo-challenges to catch up on, and blog posts without pictures are kind of boring, right?

Why Does This Always Upset Me?


Okay. If you want to know how to upset me, here’s how:

Post somewhere visible that people who don’t have children are not allowed to comment about children or have any opinion regarding any topic surrounding parenting, etc. Say something like, “People without kids shouldn’t say anything.”

Recently, a friend made a comment like this and it really upset me. Again. So, I started thinking about WHY it is so irritating.

On one hand, I understand what I think they are saying. What I think they are trying to convey is that parenting is something that has to be experienced in order for one to fully “get it”. And perhaps their intention at making such statements is to express their irritation at people making stupid remarks regarding parenting, something that someone who has been through what they’ve been through would never say, or at least would say with caveats and allow for exceptions.

But what is upsetting is the way statements like these categorically say that any opinion/idea/comment that a non-parent has is frivolous. Futile. We (the childless) have NOTHING to contribute to the conversation. We are UNQUALIFIED. Our knowledge and experience is far inferior.

Wait a minute.

So, you are saying that even if I raised a kid since I was a child, but do not have a *biological* child and do not have one *right now*, that I don’t have any experience with parenting? What about an elder child with a lot of siblings? Foster parents? Pediatricians? Pediatric counselors?

Surely some of these people might have something valuable to say on the topic of children.

I think what is meant is that people who are *ignorant* of children and parenting ought not to state their opinions. In the same way that people probably shouldn’t make unsubstantiated statements about other things of which they are unfamiliar. For example, I shouldn’t go out there and say on every physicist’s Facebook page and blog that String Theory is complete bunk and everyone who believes in it is stupid. I don’t know the first thing about String Theory. My ignorance will either be laughable or irritating, but not particularly welcome. And this is a topic which isn’t as personal as parenting, where people tend to get defensive and think that people are judging them. I don’t judge, but I understand that a lot of others do. That’s sad. And, unless someone’s really endangering their kid, most likely unwarranted.

This situation seems similar to when people say that priests shouldn’t say anything about married life or marriage, not being married themselves. My priests note that although they do not have a wife, they have probably more experience with the trials of married life than any particular married couple, as the couple only knows *their* experience, while the priests have heard hundreds of spouses’ experiences, both in counseling and in the confessional.

The other problem that I see with this type of statement, is that it unnecessarily divides people. It is Us (parents) vs. Them (the childless). And I haven’t noticed that situations where people are pigeon-holed into rigid categories work so very well to foster dialogue, compassion and understanding between the two groups. More often than not in this world, things are not black and white. Just because you are a parent, this doesn’t mean that you know everything about parenting, even if you have several kids. And just because you are not a parent, doesn’t mean that you are completely ignorant. There’s room for a whole spectrum of knowledge and experience.

So, instead of hurting each other with all the judging and labeling, why don’t we just try to be understanding to each person’s unique situation (there are no two lives that are the same; everyone has their own experience of the world, even if they live together), and love each other more?

Devaluing all of my thoughts on a broad topic is so close to devaluing me as a person. I’m worth something, even if I don’t have all of your experiences. You’re worth something, even if you don’t have all of *my* experiences.

I am terminally ill. Most of the people who might read this are not. Should I say that none of them have any right to say anything to me because they aren’t in my shoes? Of course not. You may not be dying, but you are probably familiar with being sick or injured or frustrated.

Anyways. I’ve vented my frustration and, hopefully, said something that might make sense.

Soul Food

Sometimes, I have the best conversations at work.

Like today. Since it’s a pay day, we usually try to order out for lunch. About 10 am, the IMs start flying, trying to determine what we are going to order.

I am not really familiar with soul food, but many of my co-workers are. For a pot luck one day last winter, one of my co-workers brought in greens.

They were DELICIOUS!

So, I asked for them for lunch today. (Because I’m funny. Or a punk. Whichever.)

And this sparked a discussion on all kinds of soul food. Which, of course, made everyone hungry for it.

So, my boss decided to have a soul food pot luck for me next week, as it will be my last day. [I got a new job.]

Okay, but we still have to decide on what we are having for lunch TODAY… [I, of course, asked, “What? You mean we eat more than once a week?”]

Since everyone was now hungry for soul food, my boss asks if we want to order from Sachels BBQ.

I reply, “I thought soul food was next week… :)”
Boss: “Oh. I eat it a lot. (Big girl syndrome) Comfort food junkie”
Co-worker: “The more soul food you eat, the bigger your soul becomes.”
Me: “I have a small soul?!”

CLEARLY, this is now a problem. Which must be remedied.

So, I *immediately* — just like St. Mark — text my priest: “Just been told my soul is tiny. It’s apparently related to “soul food” in some way. So, when are you cooking me dinner?”


I’m still waiting on a reply.

Me and my poor, tiny soul.

Maybe I Should Have Been Frankenbabied…

Baby Frankenstein Costume

I was reading through my blog feed, trying to get caught up, when I happened upon this article regarding genetic modification of embryos. In a nutshell, the article takes a look at the morality (or immorality) of taking the nuclear DNA from an embryo and implanting it within a denucleated egg cell from a donor which contains healthy mitochondrial DNA as a “therapy” for patients with mitochondrial disease.

Is “therapy” the right word?

The article suggests that maybe not. The way they argue it, you aren’t “treating” a condition of the patient, but you are modifying the genetic make-up of the person from the beginning — taking some genes from the father, some from the mother and other genes (the mitochondrial ones) from a second woman (the donor egg). Then, you slap together all the pieces parts to Frankenbaby yourself a genetically “improved” embryo.

By the way, I just made up that word.

Frankenbaby = to genetically modify an embryo

Given that my condition is progressive and terminal and relatively uncommon, I’m kind of happy that the medical community is bothering to think up ways to help me out. However, (1) it’s a little too late at this point and (2) it’s not moral.

Keep trying, though…


I don’t know about you guys, but I really like Facebook. I don’t *love* it and I don’t *think* I’m addicted to it, but I think of it like the CNN of the things which matter most to me: my friends and family. I’d much rather hear about how their day is going, even if it is going like every other day, than hear about politics or whatever on the news. People and relationships are what matter most in this world and I like that I have a way to interact with many people on a daily basis. Relationships on Facebook may not be as deep as they are in person, but it is much better than the nothing they would be without Facebook.

Ok, enough with the Facebook rant. LOL.

The reason for today’s blog post is from something that a friend shared on her Facebook wall.

β€œIt may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for a bird to learn to fly while remaining an egg.

We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”

~ Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis

This last part, “we must be hatched or go bad,” made me smile. Mostly because of an inside family joke.

See, growing up, my mom knew where my brother’s birth certificate was. But she couldn’t find mine. So, the joke began that I wasn’t actually *born* but hatched (like from an egg) into the family.

Every year on my birthday, my brother greets me with, “Happy Hatch Day, Hatchling!” And I think that’s pretty cool. That and my brother’s pretty awesome. I’m not sure anyone else could really pull that off.

Anyway, it just kind of gives me hope. You know. That maybe I’m on the right path in my life. πŸ™‚

Happy Sunday!