Nov 15

I feel a little bit like a squirrel.  Like, I just do whatever is immediately in front of me right now.

Children want to eat.  Must feed them.

No clothes (that I like to wear).  Must do laundry.

Fever.  Must sleep.

Child crying.  Must hug her.

Children want to eat.  Must feed them.

Meeting/appointment.  Must get dressed, drive there, be present.

Exhausted.  Must rest and try to sleep.

Alarm goes off.  Must do whatever I set alarm for: carpool, bus stop pick up, wake up.

Children want to eat.  Must feed them.

As you can see, these are the non-negotiables… the things that actually have to get done.  And, to be clear, I continue to open my door to reduce the list of Musts: friends are helping with meals, cleaning, and laundry.  Everyone who gifts or serves us is making my role in our home feel far more whole–the value of which is really hard to articulate, but so very important to me.  They also give me the much-needed freedom to engage with things other than the dust in my house.  I can have a coffee with a friend and really enjoy it thanks to the combined effort of my prioritizing my needs and my village supporting my Musts.  My corner of the world is brilliant and beautiful, folks.  Thank you.

In between all the things that command my attention, I am continuing to be behind on All the Things.  Texts, emails and phone calls are back-logged and getting forgotten, so please hit me repeatedly if you think I should be responding.  I mean to, but my capacity is just really small some days.  Repeated messages to me do not register as “you’re annoying”; they register as “you really care”, so I mean it when I say try me again.  (And, sorry.  I wish I were more, but this is where I’m at today.)

I am working on other nonessential things around the house: a big clean out and organize of our memorabilia bins, cleaning out the guest rooms in preparation for Thanksgiving, sneakily de-cluttering the girls’ overstuffed bedrooms, hand-written correspondence (which I have been generally terrible with for most of the year; ::sigh::), writing projects, and a few other things.  As I am going through my own childhood artwork and school papers, I realize I need to pare down what I’m keeping for my girls.  That’s another seems-to-be-a-rule-in-my-life: projects begat projects.

I continue to get better at giving myself grace as the amount of things for which I require grace grows.  I remind myself that this (low energy) is a good problem to have.  I am still able to do my big picture and most important things–I am grateful!  I can dance a little jig for joy if I want to.  (And I do.)  When Maren was  a toddler we would dance to the Ellen show every day, and family dance parties continue to be a favorite way for us to laugh together.  The four of us took a big walk around the neighborhood the other day.  The girls and I do art.  I lay down with Greta until she fell asleep because she asked me to.  I read a chapter of a book to Maren.  There are moments of every day that matter.

It’s good to be present, even when it’s “Squirrel!” present.



  1. Marlayne /

    Jen ~ Squirrels are cute; however, you have to be careful that they don’t bite you ~ Keep resting when you can ~ I am so glad you have many that want to help you & do ~ I wish I could come & physically help ~ Please know I think of you often 🙂 Getting ready for Family gatherings can be stressful ~ Just remember to relax, they all Love You & Everything turns out fine, even if it isn’t perfect 🙂 Hugs, 🙂 Ps. I get to visit w/Your Mom on Friday w/some of our friends 🙂 Kim will be down from Mi. 🙂

  2. Lisa Smith /


  3. Karin Eppert /

    Grace, grace, and more grace!

  4. Sweet friend – you are focused in every right way : )

  5. Shannon Kahrs /


  6. Jen,
    Keep choosing the next good thing before you. You have prayers from Va.


    You continue to Amaze me at what you do Do ….with the Lord’s Strength ! Let Him be your comfort. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”
    Love you Jen?

  8. Amanda Baugnet /

    I think the cancer adds to the crazy in our brains since we have one more thing to worry about. I still need to download Headspace on my phone to see if Meditation helps this at all.

  9. Ann Yelle /

    And my husband says I react to stress like a squirrel in traffic! And, sorry to say it but I do. Jen, I am a friend of your mother-in-law through our stamping gigs at your Aunt Julie’s house. I have followed your blog since having breast cancer. Today is 5 years since my mastectomy! Best wishes to you and your lovely family….

  10. ❤️❤️❤️

  11. Oh, Honey… GRACE. GRACE. GRACE. You’ve got loads of it being delivered to you and by you. Rest in it. You are choosing well.