Dream chasing

Jan 30

You know, I live a pretty great life.  I love it.

Lately, though, I’ve been in the business of dreaming.  Not all of my dreams are about my kids and my husband… some dreams are… just mine.  It feels selfish and decadant to wish these dreams, but I know that my dreams are essential to preserving my Jen-ness.  And my kids and my husband are rather attached to my Jen-ness, so I need to keep it.

On the same day I was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, I discovered that I have a passion for writing.  It’s a great example of “life is brutiful”: the magnificent and the ugly, squashed together.

So, I’ve been dreaming…

And funny things are happening…

Funny Thing Day #1:  Last weekend, my parents came over for a casual night of pizza and hanging out.  They brought with them a gift from my Australian relatives.  The mob from Down Under banded together and bought me a new computer.  Just because they love me so.  It’s no strings attached (because that’s the kind of family we are), but it’s a gift so that I can write.  I am so blessed and they are so ridiculously incredible.

Funny Thing Day #2: On Sunday, my friend passed me three times at church.  Each time he met my eyes and said, “Have I told you that you should write a book?”  He was flippant and funny, because that’s how he is, but it was another drop in the bucket of evidence that I should write.

Funny Thing Day #3: In the Chemo Room on Monday, I was talking to one of my favorite couples.  They are in their seventies, and what I hope Brad and I are like as senior citizens.  She is the fragile but brave patient, he is the everpresent pillar of strength at her side.  We’ve had half a dozen conversations over the past months, mostly offering encouragement: you can do this cancer thing.  I’ll be praying for you.  See you next week.  Mid-conversation on this day, the husband interrupts his wife (uncharacteristic) and tells me, “I feel I need to tell you it is really important that you write.”

Me, “Urm, yes, okay.  I do write.”  He’s looking at me intently, so I continue.  “I have a blog,” and I’m thinking does this seventy year old man even know what a blog is?  (Probably not.)

He says, out of the blue, “The word is that you should write a book.”  He says it with a certainty that is strange, given our limited encounters and how little he knows about me.

At this point, I’m just nodding and staring because I don’t know what to say.  I believe God gave him those words though.  Weird.  And awesome.  And scary.

Funny Thing Day #4: My writer friend asked if she could submit my writing to an editor friend, and I said, “Sure.”  And then I didn’t give it another thought.

Funny Thing Day #5: The editor she contacted (see #4) asked me to submit my writing, a pitch (huh?), plus a bio (what?) and a headshot (whaaaat?).

Funny Thing #6: I got an invitation to this writing workshop.

And I’m thinking about going.  Even though it is so not in the budget.  Even though childcare would be a hot mess because Brad is in Wisconsin that weekend.  Even though it is so far outside my comfort zone it’s not even funny.  And did I mention the cost?  “Jen’s career faux-reer” is not a line item in our budget.  Rather, “Jen” has been responsible for a lot of the red in our budget this year.  I’m going to have to have a talk with “Jen.”

But I’m thinking about it.  Because I’ve gotten a lot of messages from the universe about writing.  And how often do these opportunities come up?  Maybe lots.  Maybe this kind of thing comes around every quarter and I just never knew about it.





It’s not that much of a stretch, is it?  From maybe to dream.  What do you think?  Am I crazy?  Maybe I am.  A crazy dreamer.


  1. GO, GO, GO…it’s your turn to shine!! It sounds to me as if God is gently speaking to you, let Him lead! Best of luck to you and your adventure in writing.

  2. You definitely should write a book. I am so captivated with your blog. God has given you a way with words…don’t waste it. Go for it!!

  3. Gretchen /

    Your writing is beautiful, captivating and so real, you have such a gift!!! The universe is sending you a message, it isn’t just chance, it’s meant to be:) You should do it and love every minute of it! Follow your dreams !

  4. Oh Jen…..I’m just sobbing and sobbing….you must do this. Must must must. I’m a stranger to you, but I have cheered you on from the beginning, held my breath during surgeries, sighed huge sighs of relief after PET scans, I feel like I know you. This is a testament to your beautiful, honest writing. I started reading tonight’s post and was like, “duh, of course she needs to go”, then I clicked on the link and gasped, goose bumps…..this is my neck of the woods, this is where I grew up. Of all the places in the world this could be….this tiny little town on a tiny little island waaaay over here, you have to go. You have to for a million and one reasons and I feel like it so fervently I would love to help you pay. In fact I bet there are others that would love to help as well……now, knowing you like I do 😉 I bet this will be hard to do, but I think you should let us help!?!? I don’t know how to orchestrate something like that, but I bet someone here does. Think about it!

  5. Go. I will contribute to help lessen the burden of expenses. I don’t have much, being a SAHM, but go.

  6. I never comment, or even read the comments, but I felt the need to say: GO. Put up a tip jar with pay pal. I would totally tip you. I have read *every one* of your posts, and have walked silently along with you on this journey. You have a story to tell. GO.

  7. Pat Powell /

    JenYour Mar callling to you – You have the ability the drive and the humour to put your story together so well – there are so many people out there who would benefit so well from your words – you would inspire so many people – people who need the strength that you exude with every word you send….go – do it girl – you will never regret it – you will givs the strength to others that you have used yourself – Your Mar XX

  8. Catherine Butterworth /

    I have no idea what expense is involved with the workshop, but the Butterworth Family will throw in $100. I’ll work out the logistics of getting the cash to you after this weekend. (Our youngest son, James is getting married on Saturday) Love as always, Catherine

  9. Latoya /

    GO!!!! God has made this writing thing for you abundantly clear! : ) I will help however I can!

  10. there is a saying amongst rugby followers when there is an exciting play in motion — ” Go you good thing ” —

  11. Lynda M O /

    Yes, indeed, Jen, you are supposed to go to this weekend event, I can feel it too. Someone will organize the fundraiser and then I will toss in a few nickels to buy a meal or two while you are gone.

  12. You are a gifted writer. Your writing is a gift to others. Listen to your inner voice and all the cheerleaders around you. Think about all you’ve come through this past year. Getting yourself to this workshop will be a walk in the park! You will never regret going. But how about not going? I, too, would be honored to help you. When I read your “brutiful” comment it reminded me of the Momastery Blog and all the Monkees out there that are helping eachother do this hard and beautiful life. Maybe you can consider sharing your story with Glennon, she has an excellent network of “helpers” on hand. Or, right here in your own blog I have faith that you can rally a few bucks! 🙂 Honestly, that’s the easy part. Keep living large Jen and embrace this adventure that lies before you. I for one am excited to go on this journey with you!

  13. Denise O'Mara /

    Nike may have made millions out of the slogan but “just do it” sounds so right to us. You have the taqlent and it is part of the Jen-ness
    Neecie and Leo

    • Jen powers /

      Yes! Go go go! So excited about the ways God has propelled this forward so far!

  14. Kim Rourke /

    Need I comment? The answer is obvious!

  15. suenitz /

    Good morning Jen. God came and brought many messages to people through their dreams. The messages were sometimes clear words of what to do, like in Joseph when Mary was found to be pregnant and sometimes they leave us with a warm peaceful feeling. I believe that comes as a reassurance that we are at peace and in union with God’s plan for our lives. You give Him glory so well. Write on!!

  16. Genora /

    For I know the plans I have for you, Declares The LORD!! Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give You Hope And a FUTURE!! Thus says The LORD!!!!

  17. nokepo /

    How exciting!!!!! Sounds like God is sending you the message loud and clear!! Can wait to see what happens!

  18. Honest, sincere writing is what keeps blog readers like me coming back to the blog of a total stranger. Your words “DO TODAY WELL” ring in my ears every single day. You are an inspiration! If God starts opening doors for this (which He has), follow His lead and see where He takes you! We already know that His plans surpass ours and that He often takes us on adventures that we never would have planned or chosen. Go to the writing workshop and see what becomes of it! Proud of you! Love and prayers!!!

    Laura in TX

  19. I was so touched by your family’s gift. Such love. That is so heartwarming. And now to you young lady,,, what do YOU WANT to do? It sounds like your “dream” is near and dear to your heart. The world around you knows it. It’s time to acknowledge it to yourself and let God make it happen. GO for it, girl! Your writing is truly gifted…and very blessed!! Sending a hug…

  20. Linda Howard /

    Jen, although I don’t often comment, I read your blog faithfully and always in awe.. of your strength, your spirit, your heart, your bravery, your faith, your love, your attitude AND not least of all, your incredible writing ability…..so go for it…..you have God-given talent…..I hope to be at your first book signing……
    Linda Howard
    (sister of Great Legs)

  21. Do it. The time is going to pass whether you live your dream or just dream your dream. You need to live it for your girls. The details will work themselves out.

  22. You’ve got another enthusiastic “YES” from me!

  23. Ann Yelle /

    Go for it lady! Your blogs are some of the most enjoyable reading I have had. Part of it is that I can identify with the “cancer thing.” But the biggest part is that you are a wonderful writer. Master Card is always a convenient way of dealing with those “not enough days!”

  24. Marsha Vonderwish /

    You, of all people, know to ‘live today’! Pray for wisdom. If you are meant to go to this then God will provide the means. 🙂

  25. Karen Almand /

    You must go! We need your book! It sounds oh so meant to be!

  26. Sue Brelsford /

    Out of every bad, comes good. Out of every down comes an up. Crazy? I don’t think so. Go for it! You have all the tools, kiddo. You have loads of folks hungry for what you have to say!

  27. I’m so excited to get to know you more through your words. It’s going to be an excellent weekend…xoxo

  28. katienyhuis /

    Do it!!! Sorry, that’s not a very practical response, but I don’t care;)

  29. Bethany B. /

    This video is how I feel about you writing a book http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-gQLqv9f4o
    The book will be your Space Jam. Do it!

  30. Oh please go for it. I see several want to contribute and I would definitely send something. Ann Yelle above is a dear friend and in our card class group… Let us know! I always wanted to know a famous writer 🙂

  31. Charity B /

    Do it! You are an amazing talent. God isn’t messing around…. there is not subtletly here. He is hitting you over the head with His plan for you.

  32. Lauren /

    Hi Jen,
    I stumbled upon your blog a while back…can’t remember how or why I found it but I did and have been following it ever since you began your journey. I love reading about your children as I have two girls right around their ages so much of what you write about them mirrors my life. I admire your courage on sharing something innately personal to which so many women can relate. Anyway, I have never responded to your blog, just not my thing for some reason. In fact, I’ve never responded to any blog I’ve followed. I suppose I’d have to crawl out from the anonymity??!! But today, sitting in the hair salon, reading your blog, I felt compelled to respond. When I read about the “signs” you were receiving about writing, I had to let you know that I have SO often thought you have gift with words. As someone who prefers writing to other forms of expression etc. Ive always prided myself on being a “decent” writer and your eloquence in writing and way with words has struck me so and stuck with me. Had you never written this post I probably would never have written to you. But I wanted to give you another “sign” and wish you well as you embark on a potential new journey, yet another you would ne we have foreseen like your diagnosis. Thank you for sharing your story and for making cancer a little less scary. Hopefully you realize through your blog you are bringing peace and healing to so many, a gift some are able to give.

  33. Melissa /

    Go. Let us help. We will.

  34. It is NOT a stretch. The signs are obvious. Maintaining and developing Jen is the most important thing you can do. So many wives and mothers lose who they are, and they wake up one day and wonder, mourn, and sigh. You can do this.

  35. Banita Bailey /

    Get to writing!

  36. You have a gift for writing. You are real and you are uplifting. I’ve followed your journey almost from the beginning after stumbling upon your blog one day. I’ve shared your experiences and spiritual insights with many friends and family. I’d read your book. Blessings!

  37. I’ve been telling you for months you should be writing a book. Your blog is riveting; I look forward to each new entry (as I’m certain others do). Make plans to attend the writing seminar. The Universe will provide the rest…as it always does ♥

  38. Michelle Wolfe Clapsaddle /

    Not at all crazy! Hit the nail on the head! I just told someone of your situation and beautiful blog earlier this week…Wednesday to be exact (just in case you want another funny thing). My mom and I think you write beautifully!!!! Go for it Jen…funny how these crazy things in life come to fruition….
    Can’t wait to hear more about this….I’m so excited for you, my heart is filled!!!

  39. Jessica /

    Sometimes I think God specifically nudges us to “ignore the budget”. I am a crazy budgeter and I understand your qualms as I have had similar in my life. But let me just say, when we all go to Heaven and meet Him face to face-we can’t take a dime of that money that we have sweated over, counted, saved, obsessesd about. And sometimes you just have to get to living the brutiful life you have here, with the dreams HE gave you and go ahead and use the PLASTIC that He gave you (ok that might be a stretch but…) GO. GO. GO. And try not to look back or regret. That is where the fear lies. You write beautifully

  40. I know I’m a little late in responding, but I have to chim in my two-thumbs up, you-go-girl approval. Your writing is inspirational, your positive energy is contagious, your outlook is unique, and your faith is admirable. I completely agree that you should write a book and you can guarantee that I’ll buy it when it hits the shelves. May all your dreams come true!

  41. Just another gal jumping into your cheering section. Go! Write! The universe is speaking 🙂