I feel… and I know…

May 21

I feel and I know has been my latest prompt with the girls when I want to hear something meaningful about their days. “I feel” addresses the feelings they are having:
-I feel… sad that no one talked to me at lunch and it’s like I have no friends
-I feel… worried I’m not going to make the project deadline
-I feel… smothered by a girl in my class who won’t leave me alone
-I feel… excited that school is ending but I sad will miss the people
“I know” requires them to combat the feeling with a truth that relates to what they are feeling:
-I know… I have friends, and that they do care about me
-I know… I am smart, I have help available to me, and I got this
-I know… she is hurting and that’s why she’s behaving that way; I can be her friend
-I know… it will be a great summer break and I will see the people I love soon

Depending on the height and depth of the emotions at play, it can take a long time to circle to the “I know” statements. First I help them accept and validate the emotion — it’s real! Then we almost always have some level of chatter, sarcasm or jokes in the middle because laughter is a good way of breaking off negative emotion. (Not always, but often.) I think it is really important to acknowledge and validate emotions, but generally not a good idea to live out of emotions. I know for myself — and because of my situation — I would be a hot mess. Instead I am in the long habit of living out of my “I know” statements: the truths and logic that I can self-speak are much more positive and even keel than my emotions. My energy/effort/brain either feeds the “feels” or the “knows” — one is healthy for me and the other is not (speaking in general terms; there are exceptions.) Teaching my girls this practice of cycling through and “doing the work” will serve them well as a practical tool in life. (I hope.)

A friend recently asked me what I thought about fear. I think I surprised her when I said, “Fear is real!” with enthusiasm. “There are lots of times where I feel afraid. I also accept and validate my fear: it is not irrational or false.”

“Whoa,” she said, “I think I was expecting a Blog Jen answer in a neat package where you said something like, ‘There is no fear because blah, blah blah.’

I laughed and said, “No. With regard to fear (and other negative feelings), I tend to play it all the way out: if fear and death are on the left side of the spectrum, then life in heaven is on the right side of spectrum. I feel afraid, but I know I have hope.” The peace comes in remembering what I know. It’s not that the fear goes away, it is that there is a framework for my brain to follow so that it doesn’t get stuck in the emotion of fear. I spend my days with my ‘I know’ statements running through my head, thus I am nearly always in a positive mindset. And that helps me live as the best Jen.

Today I’ll have radiation treatment number nine of ten. I am experiencing some improvements with my breath and cough, so I am hopeful that trend continues. I am so, so glad to be doing this radiation. My nurse practitioner said yesterday, “I’m so glad you pushed for this!”, and it was nice to get that affirmation. Yesterday was a big day since I had both chemo and radiation. My sister stayed with us this weekend and she was just a busy bee: she did all the laundry in the house including all the sheets and towels, she cleaned out cabinets, she did a bunch of rounds of meals and kitchening, and sorted out some nooks and crannies that have been hoarding things. It was great for me to do some smaller tasks and lots of resting, and for Brad to do some projects that are in his wheelhouse. Our people who love us so well continue to be instrumental in the peace of our home with all the help and love coming in various forms. Thank you.


  1. Kim Rourke /

    Another “hit the nail on the head” post! Oh how you make me think! ❤️

  2. Dave /

    Praying, praying, praying. 50.

  3. Marion /

    I love this! And couldn’t be more timely for me this morning. I think God had you say those words directly to me! Thank you!!

  4. Marlayne /

    Act or react❣️You are so wise to help your daughters know the difference❣️You also are helping the readers of “Do Well Today” put things in perspective ? Love, Thankfulness & Huge Hugs ?

  5. Cindy Jones /

    Jen check out Dr. Caroline Leaf. She is a Christian neuroscientist and her work on renewing your mind is a game changer!

  6. Aunt Annie /

    Wow! You are such a role model for parents. Wish I had your insight when raiding my girls! So happy you are getting some relief from that annoying cough! Love ?

  7. Michelle /

    I love this! I am totally going to use this with Madeleine because she has some huge emotions going on in her little 4 year old self! I am glad the radiation is helping!

  8. Kristi /

    You are an AMAZING mom!! I am a long time reader and I’m praying for you and those sweet girl. I have two daughters as well and you are an inspiration.

  9. Emily /

    Love the validation of the feeling, but the remembering of the truth! Yay that you stood up for yourself and asked for the radiation! Thanks for writing. E

  10. Newbie friend /

    Well said! You are wise beyond your years!!!!!!

  11. Absolutely love your concept: “I feel..” and “I know..”. Always amazed at your ability to take something huge and complicated and cook it down into the necessary elements to recharge someone’s soul. I’m sure your girls are absorbing some of that gift and sharing it with the world as well.

  12. Melanie /

    You are my favorite writer. I’m always learning from your wisdom and perspective.

  13. I wish I had your wisdom when my kids were young. I know I’ll be a better grandmother because of your sharing. ♥

  14. Cindy Mitchell /

    Jen, your writing is so inspirational to so many of us..You are so awesome in the way you are helping your girls..You are making every right decision in your treatment.. Keep it up and stay positive, which by your writing I can tell you are..
    God Bless You.. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and you family…