Nursing School (of hard knocks)!

Nurse Logo

Nursing school.  It can eat you up and spit you out.  Tear you down and make you question everything.

To say my life significantly changed when I dove in head first to nursing school would be an understatement.

Finding my way to nursing school began while watching my Mom die a very avoidable and quick death in 2007 that changed my life forever.  Shortly after her passing I was diagnosed with a chronic and incurable illness known as Graves Disease in early 2008.  Those events were incredibly stressful, but I still had a fighter spirit inside of me.  I learned how to navigate the world of “doctor speak” and spent hours upon hours immersed in research on how to treat my illness in the most holistic way possible.

It was these two events that led to my desire to become a nurse.  In 2008 I was accepted to a nursing school in Florida, but because I was still so deep in grieving the loss of my Mom, I couldn’t make the commitment that nursing school required or bring myself to leave New York, where I was born and raised and the memories of my Mom kept me anchored.

Eventually, with a series of choices that created growth, happiness, heartbreak, financial loss, depression and more diagnoses of health issues, all occurring over the course of five years, I found my way to Florida in mid 2015.  I thought making a move to a new state would be a fresh start to heal the brokeness of my soul and return to the person I used to be before the trauma of loss seemed to have it’s stranglehold on me.  I hoped to find myself in my roots of fitness and encouraging others again.  To be healthy and strong after an invasive surgery and a long healing process.  To put the pieces of my broken heart back together.

The process was bumpy, but eventually, I ended up in Jacksonville and life started to look up.  I worked some shitty jobs early on until finding an employer that not only valued me as a human, but supported my decision to pursue nursing school.

In May of 2018, after some deep soul searching, and without telling anyone, I applied for financial aid.  My thought was, if I qualified for aid then it would be a sign that I was making the right decision to pursue this dream of serving others.

I qualified.

Next, I found a school.  A couple actually.  One was a state school, but the wait-list was 2 years and there was no guarantee that I would be selected.  The other was a “corporate” school that would take anyone that came through the front door.  You know the ones, tuition is pricey and the instructor turnover is [most-likely] high.  These kinds of schools can be a gamble.  This gamble, I would find out, would become one of the worst choices I made in my adult life and certainly not a great educational experience.

With financial aid in place, I applied to the “corporate” nursing school.  I had a series of interviews, an entrance exam to test my aptitude in math, science and reading and received my congratulatory letter that I had been accepted in to the nursing program, but would need to pay my seat deposit right away because there were only 12 seats in the program and they were going fast.  Apparently, 12 seats morphed in to 26.  Can you say corporate greed?

The program began in June of 2018.  I chose to attend as a night student because obviously, as a 47 year old woman, I still had to adult and pay my bills.  So, I began the 18 month journey of working full time during the day and going to nursing school full time at night, complete with weekend clinical rotations.  This is no easy task, regardless of the school you go to, because, well, nursing school is freaking hard y’all!  As it should be.

nursing school

I remember how excited I was to start school.  Being with a group of people who were all working towards the same goal of serving others, I had stars in my eyes.  I guess I had this expectation that there would be all these amazing experiences with my fellow students and bonds would be created over fluid balance, electrolytes, disease processes and nursing care plans.

I don’t know about other nursing schools or nursing students experiences, besides the few classmates I was close to, but my graduating class of 2020 never came close to that ideology I had imagined in my mind as I walked on to campus on Day 1.  Instead, our class was riddled with drama, bullying behavior from a select group of students and, sadly, a stand out faculty member.

My idea and hope of a group of people moving towards a common goal was dismantled and I was targeted and put in my place early on in the second week of school.  This experience, being one of several who were singled out and bullied, continued throughout the entire program, escalated until I finally broke my silence at the beginning of third term and then got worse when a faculty member inserted herself in to mix at the end of that term.

See, nursing school is a funny little place.  It’s not like any other higher level educational setting I had experienced.  Cliques in nursing school can form very quickly and it seemed that the “cackle crew” clique didn’t waste any time in forming it’s posse of five members to rule the roost in any way they saw fit.  They were aggressive, conniving and mean spirited.  These able bodied, young girls would even park in the handicap spots so that their cars wouldn’t be dinged or they didn’t have to walk far to the front door, especially if it were raining.  And these are the people that will be out there caring for patients?

I did my best to avoid this clique, I stayed quiet in class afraid to speak for fear of being ridiculed by one of the “crew”, an event that happened daily, kept my head down and interacted with a handful of students that were amazing.  Academically, I excelled through each semester.  I carried a very respectable GPA that wavered between an A-/B+, never missed a class, passed all my exams and wrote great papers and through nursing care plans.

But, the bullying escalated, until I could no longer focus on the work in front of me.  I was so scared to speak up, but knew that in order to protect the decision I had made to go in to debt to pursue nursing school and my dream to become a Nurse, I needed to bring it to the administrations attention.


That backfired.

While others had came forward with their own statements of being bullied or witnessing bullying behavior, the school found a way to minimize it all and because of that, things got worse, not better.

The last 6 months of school were barely tolerable.  I was afraid to go to the bathroom by myself, often holding “it” in for the 4-5 hours I was on campus until I got home or going with another classmate so I wasn’t alone in an area that didn’t have cameras.  Clinical rotations became a source of anxiety if I was paired up with a student that was part of the “crew”, and on several occasions,  was made an example in front of my classmates by a faculty member with “Dean” in their title, of what happens when you speak up and bring your concerns to administration.  The bullying was now coming from both sides.

By the time senior seminar started I was a mess physically and emotionally.  All I wanted to do was get through the last grueling six weeks of pure hell, pass the progression (also known as the exit) exam, graduate and get the hell out of that school!

On the day of progression I felt pretty good.  The school gave us an ATI exam.  It was hard, like 180 questions of hard.  I knew there were some questions I couldn’t answer based on content that we never covered and others that I had a 50/50 chance on.  Overall though, I felt okay and thought I would get a passing score.  The minimum needed to pass an ATI exam is 70% and that’s all I was praying for.  I even expected it.

Instead, I missed it.  By a fraction!


I was devastated.

A week before Christmas, my world crashed with the news of my “unsuccessful” attempt to pass exit.

And all the old voices that I had been working so hard to silence since coming to Florida to heal and change my life for the better came back to haunt me all over again….

“You’re not good enough.”

“No one wants you.”

“You’re a waste of space.”

“Why would you think you deserve the privilege to care for others.”

There were 2 others that were unsuccessful that day, but for me I never saw it as a possibility that I wouldn’t pass.  With my dedication, my solid grades, my determination, the thought of not passing never really entered my mind.

This was a huge slap to my ego, to my belief system.

I questioned my faith.  Questioned God.  Questioned my ability to care for others.  Questioned my decisions.  Conspiracy theories began to run through my head because of my vocalness of being bullied by fellow students and faculty.

So, I isolated myself.

I wanted to give up.  And then I realized, well fuck!  I’m $18k in debt and I need to take this to the hoop or else I’m just paying a loan as a reminder that I’m a failure.

I remediated through a grueling 3 week schedule of nightly 100 question exams, another 100 practice questions from other test banks and required essays.  Weekly required 1 hour question workshops and one one meetings with the one faculty member who led the charge to make me an example of speaking out against bullying.

Oh, the irony.

On the next test date, January 18th 2020, I walked on to campus in my required uniform and sat down to face another test.  Would it be ATI again, or would it be HESI?

It was ATI.

It was harder than than the first exam.

It took me 2 hours and 43 minutes.  Almost the same amount of time as the first exam.

When I finished, I walked off campus.  Doubt, anxiety and fear all joined me.  I did not feel good about the test.

It would be several hours until I had my result.

Later that night, I returned to campus and after waiting what seems like an eternity, was the first to receive my score.  I was scared.  I just wanted to get it over with.  In my mind, I was convinced that I had failed…again.  Because what else could possibly make sense?  Those voices again.

When I was told that I had successfully passed progression with a 79.3% (which translates in to a 98% chance of passing my state board licensing exam on the first try) I couldn’t believe it.

And then the sobbing began.  Uncontrollable sobbing.

Finally.  Validation.

I left campus, exhausted and thinking I just wanted to sleep for the next month, nonstop.

I chose not attend graduation a couple of days later.  Instead, I celebrated quietly with my dog, Tippy, Netflix, Grey’s Anatomy, some wine and a flatbread pizza and the knowledge that I didn’t need to wear a cap and gown to prove to anyone that I had earned the honor of becoming a nurse.

Our class of 26 students by the time graduation rolled around became a class of 14.  Some students dropped out completely after the first quarter, and others were held back to repeat the required courses needed to advance. Like I said, nursing school is hard.  It’s not only mental, but physical.  It can eat you up and spit you out.

I have one more test to take.  The state boards to obtain my nursing license and the privilege to care for clients in 32 states recognized under the Compact Nursing Agreement.

The studying continues until test day, but with a clearer head and peaceful heart and waaaayyy less stress.

While my experience with the school was a very negative one there were some beautiful friendships that came out of it that I will cherish with a handful of fellow students and some faculty members that nurtured me on my educational journey.  The rest of the unpleasantness will eventually fade away.

Like any challenging life experience, it has changed me in ways that make me softer and in other ways that make me more cynical of the human race in the 21st century.

I try to remind myself that while we are all broken and imperfect people trying to find our way in this messed up world, that what makes one person a bully and another a dreamer who wants to see the best in everyone and everything around them, we all, ALL, absolutely need and deserve to be cared for with love and compassion and without judgement or harshness.

So, that’s what I’m going to continue to work on to better myself as a human, a woman, and a Nurse.

Until next time.

Love, Jeni ❤











PSA: Make-Up Tools Are Dangerous Kids

I work a full time job.

I’m also a full time nursing student. Which has essentially sucked up any free moment of my time.

This crazy, sleep deprived, not enough hours in the day schedule has forced me in to a wicked time management frenzy that leaves me exhausted and my head spinning by the end of the day.

So, one morning a few weeks ago, while I was still half asleep and half caffeinated, I picked up the above photographed make-up tool. It’s a metal lash comb (or separator) with an eyebrow brush. All the cool kids are using it ya know.

Now, I’m no stranger to make-up related eye injuries. My last one was a direct hit to my cornea with a rather large safety pin…that was quite a long time ago. I mean, when I was a teenager kind of long time ago.


…if you’re trying to do the math on my age present day, let me help you by giving you a hint, parachute pants were all the rage back then and Motely Crüe had just released their Too Fast for Love album.

But, enough with the time hop…back to the highly dangerous weapon that doubles as a make up tool story.

There are no words to describe the absolute sheer eyeball pain that occurs when one accidentally pokes themselves in the eye with one of these confangled contraptions at a high rate of speed with some torque added in for good measure. Gotta get those perfectly wispy and separated eyelashes at any cost ya know!

Back to the pain.

It’s awful.

It radiates all throughout your skull. Your eye can’t stop watering. Not to mention that the once beautiful white sclera is now the shade of a Macintosh apple!

Vision is blurry and you wonder if it’s from your eye watering or the tears you are crying. You may become slightly hysterical and wonder if your miscalculation and ultimate eye stabbing will result in permanent blindness.

Let’s not forgot the swearing that is most likely falling from your lips as you cradle your injured eye and the side of your head wishing to all that is sacred that you hadn’t been so clumsy. Plus, all the labor that went in to applying and feathering your perfectly coiffed eyelashes has been destroyed and you quite possibly now resemble a blubbering, bipolar raccoon!

What am I trying to say here?

If you’re going to use this method to attain the perfectly separated and wispy eyelash, first, be awake and caffeinated. Second, dial down your entry speed when coming at your eyeball with something metal and sharp. Finally, if you’re running late, maybe it’s a better idea to forgo this step, because it’s always better to be safe than sorry, take it from a professional eyeball poker.

Until next time…

Love, Jeni

He whispers…

8/10/18 Note: This was one of my early blog pieces, written in February of 2015.  Somehow it dropped off the website, so I have reposted it to share my story in the hopes that it can help someone else who might be going through something similar.


It’s been ten weeks.  Today.  That’s 70 days.  Or 1,680 hours.  It’s time passing. Passing without him in my life.  Ten long, painful, numb weeks and there is seemingly no relief in sight.  My heart is in pieces, truly broken, scattered all around me and I can’t seem to figure out which piece to pick up first.  Broken a third time.  Worse this time.  I’m grateful that the act of breathing in and out is involuntary.  Or maybe I’m not grateful.  I’m sometimes sad that I wake up each morning.  Or maybe I’m just surprised.  The pain I feel is so physical, tearing me apart over and over, that it will surely be my demise.  But no, I open my eyes each day to the stark reality that for a moment, I had it all.  I got a taste.  I saw the vision of a lifetime of happiness, a future with the man I have loved longer then most people can say they have been married; loved in lifetimes past and will in lifetimes to come.

I was once again reunited with my twin flame.


What is a twin flame?  “According to the mythology of twin flames, in the beginning of time we were created from one source, that was split into smaller and smaller units down to two souls (and on rare occasions, halves of one soul) that would journey to Earth to learn and experience duality. They would reincarnate over lifetimes with this longing for each other.” [2] (Source Wikipedia)

Simply put, a twin flame is your partner of ultimate destiny.  How do I know that he is my twin flame?  I just do.  I can’t explain it.  It’s a feeling.  An overwhelming physical and spiritual pull.  It’s my soul recognizing his soul and knowing I am home.  It’s twenty-eight years of finding each other, over and over again, on this planet.


We met in high school, in the late 1980’s.  He was dating a girl that would become his first wife and I was dating someone who I would never talk to again after we graduated.  We all ran around in the same crowd, but my heart sang only for him.

After high school he would go on to join the military and turn it in to a successful career, achieving a respectable rank and the respect and adoration of his peers.  He is currently active duty in the southern states.

His first marriage ended and produced two girls.  By now, it was the early 1990’s.  Not long after that, he came home to NY on vacation and we ran in to each other unexpectedly at a club.  The timing couldn’t have been more perfect!  We were both young and single, and so the romance began.  My heart sang and sang and sang.  He returned to Nebraska and we communicated the old fashion way, via telephone.  The internet had yet to debut, but it was on it’s way.

Later on, in the spring he would come back to NY to visit his daughters and we spent an amazing several days together and decided I would come out to visit him during the summer.  Back then, I wouldn’t even consider getting on a plane for any amount of money in the world, but for him, I would squash my anxiety (with the help of a few (many) Tanqueray and tonics) and get myself there.

It was another amazing week together and I already knew that I wanted to be with him, no matter where he was stationed on this big, ginormous planet. When I returned home from that visit, I brought this up to him, suggesting I could move to Nebraska.  He wasn’t so hip to the idea and not long after that summer visit, he suddenly ended the relationship.  I was devastated.  I couldn’t understand where I went wrong.  So, I did what any normal woman would do, I medicated with food and booze and denial.  Imagine my absolute surprise and hope when he contacted me at Christmas that same year, saying he wanted to stop and see me while he was in NY visiting his family for the holiday.  I couldn’t wait to see him.  My love!  I was so excited.  I thought for sure he was coming to see me and tell me that he missed me.  That he had made a mistake and wanted me back! Christmas wishes do come true!!!

It was snowing out that night.  An absolute blizzard.  He finally arrived.  Standing in my kitchen right in front of me, my heart started singing again and then he said it, the words I never expected.  He was there to tell me that he was getting married and oh, by the way, she was with him, in NY, waiting for him at his Mom’s house.  My song stopped, because my heart skipped a beat, and all the while I’m dying inside. On the outside, I’m smiling and feigning happiness for him.  What else could I do???  Merry Christmas.

He left and I sunk deeper in to my sadness.  Wishing for a hole to open up in the floor and swallow me whole.  I would later find out (in 2014 during a beach vacation together) that the reason he came back to see me was to make sure he no longer had feelings for me before he married his second wife.  Ouch.  And while he did still have feelings for me, his feelings for her were stronger.  Ouch ouch.

But, life goes on and over time I healed and had a series of relationships, moved across the country to Washington State and returned home in the fall of 1998 to care for my Mom recovering post surgery.  I would meet my husband later on in the winter of that same year, get married in 2000 and subsequently divorce several years later.  My Mother would pass away in 2007, I would be diagnosed with a serious chronic and incurable illness in early 2008 and navigate learning how to manage doctors and medications and become a fierce advocate for my own health and those of the women I met also afflicted.

During all the years that followed that horrific December day in my kitchen, I would get updates from his first wife, who was working at a local pub that I played pool league out of.  She would tell me how he was doing and how their two daughters were, but outside of those exchanges with her, me and him had zero communication.  For seventeen years.  Until the winter of 2009.

I arrived to work, turned my computer on and logged in to Facebook. Naturally.

There it was.

An instant message.

From him….

My heart again.  My damn heart!!!!  Humming at first.  Oh so faintly.  For him.  Always.

I sit.

My palms are sweaty.  My mouth is dry.  We’re talking.

It’s like he was sitting right there with me.

I controlled my heart song this time though.  I couldn’t let it sing too loudly.  I had been hurt too deeply by him.  Humming was tolerable.  Humming was ok.

He told me he was deployed overseas, due to return to the states in April of 2010.  He was divorced by now.  With another daughter and stepchildren, one of which he would adopt after returning from deployment.  An awesome, stand-up, seriously cool thing to do (coming from someone who is also adopted) and shows what kind of man he is!

We would talk virtually every day during the work week as he was winding down for the night and my day was just beginning.  I was so grateful to have re-established contact with him.  To know that he was alive and relatively safe given his deployment status.  I let my heart song hum for him (it felt so good), but I was with someone and I couldn’t allow my heart to sing the way it truly wanted to.  I owed it to the man I was dating at the time.  Eventually that relationship ended though and it was now 2010.  He suggested we see each other when he returned to NY in June for his daughters high school graduation.  Yes.  Yes!  YES!

The day arrived.  I could see him walking towards my building.  My heart exploded.  I came unglued.  We were in front of each other.  For the first time in over seventeen years!  He wrapped his arms around me and held me so close that I could have practically been pulled inside him.  It was absolute and sheer Heaven.  He was home.  I was home.  We spent some time together over the weekend and it was bittersweet to say goodbye to him.

After he left we would continue to text and Skype just about every day.  It was purely platonic (with a shitload of innocent flirting) as he was seeing someone back in Texas.

He ended up taking orders to Alabama for school and at the end of the summer I went to visit him.  I arrived, not knowing how the visit would play out.  There had been no discussion of the girlfriend in Texas he had mentioned earlier in the summer.  I was going with the flow.  Following my bag from the trunk of my car to the master bedroom.  I had my answer and I was not disappointed.  I was in love.  My heart was singing at full blast.  It was our second chance.  We were older.  Wiser.  Experienced.  Life was good.  So good, that after that first visit to Alabama, he asked me to come back five weeks later for a long Columbus Day weekend.  We would take a trip to Nashville.  I would get on a plane for him.  Again.  Fighting all the fear and anxiety that was a hundred times worse by now, no thanks in part to my illness.   But I would do it.  Because he was worth it.  Because I loved him.

We talked constantly during those five weeks, before I returned.  It was pure agony to be away from him, but I had a job, great friends, my dog and a life in NY.  I certainly wasn’t the least bit remotely interested in living in the “dirty south”, but I was interested in taking things slowly and cultivating the relationship.

When I returned to Alabama for our long weekend trip, I was acutely aware that something wasn’t quite right.  He was different.  Aloof.  Not completely engaged.    Not the guy I left five weeks earlier.  During this visit I casually asked him to define what we were doing, where he saw things going for us.  If we were going to continue a long distance relationship, then it would require some planning for travel and time off.  I had responsibilities.  But I also didn’t want to miss an opportunity in NY if he wasn’t interested in moving forward with us.  Somehow he interpreted my inquiry as me wanting to pack my things, move in and play house.  Uhhhh, yeah.  No.  Not even close! Needless to say, after the trip to Nashville and my return to NY, he pulled away again.  Completely shut down.  Shut  me out.  It was an ugly, messy split (for several very private reasons) and one that would take me almost two years to recover from.  I would be forever changed after this break.

A year later, he would reach out to me and I would see him briefly in NYC for lunch while he was there for work and I was there to see my specialist.  It was awkward.  I wanted to be wrapped up in his arms, I wanted my heart to sing for his heart, but it couldn’t.  It was in too much pain.  I was in too much pain.  He eventually moved on to Arizona after completing school.  I would move forward too, changing careers and starting to make plans for a move to a warmer, more tropical climate.  A couple times a year he would reach out to me, ask me how I was doing, inquire about my health, but it was never me reaching out to him.

And then one day, late in the summer of 2013, the phone rings (there’s a blog about that damn telephone on my page, just scroll down to read it; you’re welcome)….and I would make a decision that would impact my life in ways I could never imagine.

Almost exactly three years to the day after our second break-up that essentially destroyed me, we are in Baltimore; he whispers to me… in a dark room, “it’s you, it’s always been you, I keep coming back to you”… and my soul responds… “yes”, because I know with all the fibers that tie me together, that I am meant for him.  That I am his.  Can you hear that?  It’s my heart…it’s singing again.  I am his.  He is mine.


In June of 2014, after seven months of dating, 20,000 miles of driving up and down the I-95 corridor, two shoulder surgeries for him and a few seizures for me, I got a job and an apartment, said goodbye to NY and hello to VA.  It was the beginning of what I knew would be a lifetime of happiness.  We had arrived.  We were older.  There were marriages for each of us.  Children and grandchildren for him.  The loss of my Mother and me living with chronic illness.  Serious life experiences that shaped us, molded us, and led us to this moment.  Both of us in our mid-forties.  Very similar values and outlooks.  So many things in common.  Great conversations and beautiful, comfortable periods of silence.  We would talk of our future together in San Antonio and the surgery that was coming at me, and ultimately the discovery of thyroid cancer would present.

He whispers….”I will heal you with my love”…and I believe him.

It wasn’t a smooth transition, moving from NY to VA.  There were moments, from both of us, that certainly weren’t pretty, but I never saw them as things that would be used as a reason to end the relationship.  I always took accountability for my actions, but in my error, I took accountability for his actions too.

During this time, leading up to my surgery in October, things started presenting that made me uncomfortable.  Changes in his behavior.  My anxiety became uncontrollable.  I had valid reasons to feel the way I felt that would later be confirmed through fights and emails I would read confirming my suspicions.  Things I never expected to find out, but even those things can’t quiet my heart song for him.

When we are intimate, he whispers to me….”mine”…and my soul breathes “yours”…


And so, despite the few hiccups early on, we established a comfortable routine.  Cooking and exercising together.  Taking walks to get coffee.  Going in to the District and checking out museums.  Sushi dates at our favorite place.  Friday night movie date nights.  Church and food shopping on Sundays.  At night, he would sit next to me on the couch and lay his head in my lap and I would lovingly stroke his neck and back as he fell to sleep.  His breath slowing until I could barely hear it.  The warmth of his body being absorbed in to mine.  Those moments so precious to me.  I would fight for us.  Always.  I would never give up on him.

Every now and then he would show me glimpses of his vulnerability.  Who he was underneath all the layers of shit that affected him, shaped him, warped him, wrecked him – for all women…except me.  Why? How do I know?  Because he is my twin flame.  We are connected by something legitimately unexplainable.  Something that scares most twin flames who are not comfortable being vulnerable and open and exposed.  It scares him for sure, but it doesn’t scare me.  Because despite all the bullshit.  All the excuses.  Everything we have been through together, and apart.  His flaws, my flaws.  None of it matters.  Nothing.  I love him.  Through it.  Because of it.  I.  Just.  Love.  Him!


I see him.  The real him.  I see the man he wants to be.  I don’t want to save him.  I don’t need to save him.  I only want to love him and let that love be the song that is his lullaby.  My hope is that one day he will see himself as I do.  He will see that he has value, and worth.  He will know that he doesn’t need to run anymore.  He will know that he is safe with me and that I love all of him.

Because I want nothing from him except him.  I have never wanted his money, or needed his last name, or for him to shower me with material things and trinkets.  My happiness comes and I’m lit up like a flame when he slides his hand in mine, or when we are in a crowd and he places his hand on the small of my back, and even when his hand doesn’t make contact I can feel the electricity connecting us.  It’s when he looks at me so deeply it rocks my core, or when he playfully teases me while I’m washing dishes or cooking dinner.

When I’m inside his embrace, held tight by his strong arms, I’m protected against the ugliness out in the world.  Protected from the pain of my illness  Feeling his strength and love envelope me.  Ooze in to me.  He held me like that almost every single night, my soldier.

I’m filled with immense pride when he champions me in my quest of health, fitness and wellness, or advocating for others affected with illness.  I’m moved by his generosity towards the people I love so much.  My family.  My friends.  My clients.  They love him.  Even more, they too can see this connection we share, because it’s undeniable.

I’m amazed by complete strangers watching us on the metro.  A woman, who gently reaches out and touches my shoulder and says, “I need to tell you that I have been watching you two for the last 20 minutes and I can’t help but notice how much in love you are with each other”.  Whoa!  He asks me what she said and I repeat it.

He whispers… “see, don’t ever doubt my love for you”.


It’s October, my surgery has arrived and so has our anniversary.  It’s our official “one year” 28th anniversary.  It’s the first and last we will celebrate together.  The blue box arrives….


When I open it I completely lose my breath.  It’s like I got punched in the throat.  I recognize the Twin Flame symbol immediately.  I ask him if he is aware of what it stands for and he says he does, but I’m not so sure he is aware of how intuitive and connected he is to our twin flame, since he’s pretty good at turning his feelings off and avoiding.  I’m somewhat doubtful that he gets the significance of his choice, but it’s powerful none the less.  I wear that beautiful bauble with pride.  Unaware that the tides will soon be changing.

Despite setbacks, cruel words between us and growing pains, I never gave up on him, but believed more and more that I was made for this man who is so boyish and so incredibly lost in so many ways.

Before I know it, it’s December and we are in NYC to see the tree a week before Christmas.  During this trip he tells me he loves me, but he isn’t in love with me.  Thanks for the food Ruby Foos, I will never go back again.

We go our seperate ways to celebrate the holiday.  Him to San Antonio and me to Florida.  And then it’s December 30th, 2014.  I’ve just returned home.  Against everything inside me, I choose to end the relationship because I feel like something is terribly wrong and I have to save what is left of myself, because I’m ready to let him destroy me…again.  For a third time.

We’re sitting on the couch and I turn to him and say, “Don’t you think I deserve to be with someone who loves me back the way I love them”? and he agrees.  I’m crying.  I can’t stop the tears.  My heart is dying…I can feel it, shrinking in my chest.  Suffocating my song.  I want to change my mind.  I want to say I was just kidding!  But I can’t bring myself to do it.  I’m shutting down.  Trying to prevent the inevitable.  To beat the pain before it reduces me to nothing.  To get in front of it and pretend this moment isn’t even happening.

He kneels in front of me, wraps his arms around my waist and puts his head in my lap.  It’s the most glorious feeling to hold him close and stroke his skin, because it’s the first touch we have shared since I returned from Florida.  To share this tender, sweet moment with him as my world is falling apart, it’s catastrophic for my soul.

He lifts his head from my lap…he whispers to me, “I’m glad it was you this time”.


I’m done.  My world is spiraling.  I can truly feel the bottom slipping away, the fall is happening.  My stomach in my throat.  Knowing that when I wake up in the morning it will all be changed.  I’m inconsolable.

He leads me to the bedroom.  We make love.  I cry the whole time.  A snotty, salty mess and when we are done, he gathers me in his arms, pulls me super close in to his body, as he’s done every night for the last seven months.  Our bodies, that fit perfectly together.  Because I was designed for him and he was designed for me.

He whispers…”don’t think I’m not losing something I want too”…my head is spinning and I can’t even respond.  In my brain, I hear my voice screaming, “then why are you letting this happen!!!!!”.

I wake up a few hours later to train my client before she leaves for her New Year festivities.  When I return home I’m exhausted and need sleep before I too leave for NY for the holiday.  Only I sleep too long, and when I wake up he wants to talk.  The man who virtually never initiates any sort of “talks” or “talking”.  He says, maybe when I come back from NY we can work on the relationship, and my heart starts singing again.  Because I think, he’s finally getting it!  He’s here!  He’s vulnerable.  He’s ready to move forward and get all the way in.  I agree and decide to stay and celebrate New Years Eve with him and his friends.

Just like that, I’m renewed and refreshed, full of hope and faith and excitement… and (sigh) love.  My heart has never sung so loud and his is answering mine back.  We’re going to make it!


(Ernie and me – NYE 2014/15)

I look at this picture and I know, you can’t fake happiness.  You can’t fake love.  You can’t fake desire and you certainly can’t fake body language.  I am his.  He is mine.  My soul is pulled to his and I am home when I’m with him.  Twin flames.

Forty days later, he would end our relationship.  He receives official orders for an early release to return to San Antonio.  He declares that we just aren’t compatible, we have nothing in common, and that while we function great in a domestic capacity within the walls of our apartment, we don’t function well in a group dynamic in public.  He complains that our relationship has been riddled with drama and he won’t take a struggling relationship to TX and force it on his children.

I’m leveled.  Blindsided.  I had believed we were on our way to taking things higher.  That he was committed to moving forward.  And just like that, he’s gone.  Checks out.  Buh bye.  I tell him how hard it was for me to make the choice to end the relationship back in December and he pulled me back in the very next day.  Why?  Why would he do that?  When I asked him why he did that…he said he didn’t know.  He couldn’t answer that question.

Everything I believed and hoped for is crushed.  Ripped away from me.  I spend the weekend in a fog.  Crying.  Crying so much I’m amazed there is any salt left in my body.  And he’s loving me.  Holding me.  Kissing me.  Taking me to dinner at our favorite sushi place, then going out to party in the District with his “boys”; and I’m sobbing in our bed, medicating just to get some sleep.

I’m trying to figure out why I didn’t see the blow coming.  Wondering where I went wrong.  What did I do wrong?  I know that when I leave, all ties have to be severed.  Like we never knew each other.  We never met.  Not ever.  But, if you’ve been lucky enough to identify your twin flame and actually connect with them, then you know this approach is fruitless.

I return to New York, with just a few boxes of clothes, personal belongings and my bicycles.  My heart hanging out of my chest, useless.  A lump of scar tissue.  No pride left.  No energy.  I’m void.  It’s all gone.  No idea what I’m going to do or where I will go.  I have nothing left.  My savings is depleted.  Most of my life is packed in to a 5×10 storage unit on the side of I-395 next to the Pentagon.  The only place I want to be is with him.  The only place I am is in agony.


For ten weeks now, I have lived in a perpetual state of loss.  I can’t see past the pain and sadness I feel every day.  The lump in my throat is always there.  I cry.  In the car.  In front of my friends.  At church.  But the worst, the worst is in the shower.  When it just washes over me.  Gut wrenching, torturous, breath stealing, murderous sobs, that wrack my body.

I have never known a sorrow so deep, so dark, so painful, so incredibly profound.  I look down at my body and see all the places his eyes once touched me and my soul aches for him.  I feel all the places his hands used to touch me and my skin is lit on fire.  I see the water rushing over my body that he once held so close and tight to his each night.  Two puzzle pieces that fit together as one.  Perfectly.


I hardly know myself anymore.  The woman looking back at me in the mirror is a complete stranger.  She’s lifeless.  She has lost her joy.  She has lost her direction.  Her heart, although not silent, is barely humming now.

I go through the motions.  I get up.  I do my best and I wait for the end of the day.

The pain of separation that a twin flame feels is excruciating and unexplainable to others.  It’s pure agony.  It’s physical and spiritual all at once.  Legit.

Reading this article may help to shed some light for those who can’t wrap their heads around the pain I am feeling, it certainly helped me to understand better:

My close friends and family stand by and witness my break-down.  They feel immense pain for me.  They so desperately want to help, they want to take my pain and sadness from me, but they don’t know how.  I don’t either, and all I want to do is console them, assure them they will be ok, and not to worry about me.

I feel awful to be an emotional wreckage tossed in their laps.  To see their sadness for my sorrow.  I know how incredibly hard it is to watch people you love come completely undone, because I’ve been on those sidelines too.  The helplessness is suffocating.  You want to feel anger and hate for the person that did this to someone you love, but you can’t.  And you shouldn’t, because I can’t feel that for him.  Ever.  All I can feel for him is love.

To all my dear friends and family, to all those who have been silently praying for me and wrapping me close to their hearts as they send healing energy to me, I’m so very thankful and blessed to have each and every one of you in my life.

To my family, who has walked each step of this journey with me, I love you all so much.

To the woman who has provided me with shelter and poured her light in to me so desperately, wishing for my joy and happiness to return, I am eternally grateful and indebted to you.  You have nurtured me and loved me in a way I couldn’t have expected and in which I will never forget.  Thank you for honoring me and the place I’m in.  For sitting with me in church and for letting me sob silently as you pass your energy to me.  Who just this morning shared this message (below) with me.  A true angel on this earth.


Twin flames.  We love who we love, unabashedly and without excuses, with complete and total abandon.

Every day I pray for him.  I pray for me.  I pray for us.  He is my mirror.  My forever love song.  I whisper to him, “I am completely incomplete without you”…

…and every night…I whisper to an empty space beside me…

…I love you.

Until next time…

Love, Jeni

Fahrvergnügen: The Story of Fiona

IMG_1575.JPG(Fiona – January 2017 – Daytona, FL)

Fiona, the 2008 VW Passat Komfort 2.0T, came in to my life in March of 2012 from the trade of my 2006 VW Jetta 2.5T.

She was subtle.  Sleek.  Sexy.  Unassuming.

She was, to me, trick.

I love the brand.  I’m a full on VW Kool-Aid drinker.

I’m not gonna lie.

German engineering got me like…. #fahrvergnügn ❤

Those that embrace german engineering will understand this love affair and I need not explain further.

If you need an explanation you either don’t know me, don’t know the beauty of german engineering or both…

At this time, feel free to move along and abandon this post…

Unless of course…you love me and my style of writing…in which case….

….grab a snazzy glass of red, sit back and read away…Thank you for your support 🙂


I’m about to get emotional because something inconceivable has recently happened (insert broken hearted emoji here)

I loved my Passat in a very unhealthy way.

It’s true.

And I admit it.

She represented so many things to me:

  1. Success:  I paid her off on time and within terms
  2. Freedom: She took me places; moved me countless times (whether I was prepared or not)
  3. Saved me: She was a vessel to remove me from unhealthy situations and relationships
  4. Ownership: She was paid off this year in May 2017 and still beautiful and pristine;  and true to the Dave Ramsey model, we had another few years together at least…me saving money and driving a car that made me happy…


…a drunk driver made a decision for me while I was sleeping, snug as a bug with my sweetie, in the early morning hours of 19 August 2017.

I rolled over.

It was 4ish A.M.

“Why is your light still on?” I said to him.

He grunted.

The light went out.

I felt him looking for my foot.

He asked me where it was.

Did I answer?

I can’t remember.

But the crash!

That awful, crunching, shrieking sound of metal and then screetching tires….

I thought to myself… “WOW!!! That sounded terrible, I hope whoever that is, that they are ok”.




And then the doorbell rang….and rang again….and again….

I sat straight up in bed.

Was it my imagination???

Am I hearing things?


There it is again!  The doorbell.

Being pushed…..incessantly!


The clock.

4:21 am….

….nothing good ever happens at 4:21 am.

My heart is racing…

…and the dog and the man are snoring like all get out….


I push him.

“Baby, someone is at the door!  Something is wrong!”

Now there is pounding on the door along with the doorbell being rung.

Home invasion???

Hey!  That ish happens here in Florida…I’m playing it safe….

…pulling out the gun box…and trying to wake up the man…

Load the gun…


There are people standing around Fiona…

…and my man says…babe….we have a problem and the neighbors are trying to get your attention.

On this night, someone took my life, my livelihood and my finances in his hands…

He decided to drive drunk.

And that decision caused damage.

Financial damage.

Not only did he make a decision to take his own life in his hands, he jeopardized the property of others and the safety of those who were also out on the road at the same time.

He must have been in a terrible place emotionally.  That makes me so sad.

His choice to drive intoxicated destroyed federal property and totaled my car.

Thankfully, as far as I know, no one was physically injured or killed.

This is a true blessing!

God is GOOD!!!

It took a couple of hours before the police showed up.

It was agonizing.

My mind was racing, playing over worst case scenarios.  Looking at my now seriously banged up VW.

Shattered glass littering my driveway.

My beautiful, lush green hedges, taken out from the root and now displaying a big gaping hole.

My mind just keeps reminding me that I’ve just lost my ability to earn a living (up until that moment I was a full time Uber driver waiting for my new position to start at a local company) for the next two weeks before my new job was to start.

I was forced in to an unpaid four week vacation.

I was sick to my stomach to be back in a car payment.

And I was emotional at losing my Fiona.

My trusty steed.

My VW.

My Fahrvergnügn ❤

My freedom.

I felt anger.  Fear. Anxiety. Sadness.

Anger, again…..and again….and again.

Frustration.  Disappointment.

And then ultimately, acceptance.

Me and the man were able to get in front of the process, get prepared and ultimately, I purchased a reliable and solid replacement.

Stay tuned, because I’ll do a blog on the new whip…when the time is right.

Back to the night in question….

My neighbors were nothing short of AMAZING!

They hung out with us for several hours; not only waiting for the police to arrive to give their testimony, but long after the police left.  A few went out in search of the truck that hit my car (the neighbor 3 doors down actually witnessed the hit and run but because it was so dark and there was no way to read the plate) to see if perhaps he abandoned the vehicle in a nearby plaza or church parking lot.

No such luck.

It was a painful weekend, hoping and praying that the person who did this would come forward and take accountability so the financial outlay was as minimal as possible to me and also wishing upon all wishes that my car was repairable.

She was towed out on Monday to the appraiser….

….and official word of being totaled was delivered a couple days later on Wednesday.

My insurance company was fantastic.  I encourage you to let Esurance quote you next time you are up for renewal.  They are a division of Allstate.  Totally reputable and they took damn good care of me!

The settlement was offered and 80% was immediately deposited in to my account.

I sent loss paperwork and remainder was released.

This all took place in less then two weeks.

And with the help of family, I purchased another car.

It’s not a VW…I couldn’t afford one this time….

…but the new girl, she’s a trusty whip and I’m hoping that she will be low maintenance and be with me a long time.

The one amazing thing I can take away from this whole experience is this….

…a car is just a car.

It doesn’t care if I’m happy or sad.

Healthy or sick.

Late for work or stuck in traffic.

The car is unfeeling.

It’s a tool.

A vessel to get me from point A to point B.

As long as I do the maintenance, the car should perform.  Occasionally, it will require additional work.

But all it is, all it ever will be, is a tool.

It’s not status.  It’s not love.  It’s not my identity.

It’s four wheels on a rolling chassis.

I just pray that every night, when I get home from work and park her in my driveway, every vehicle that drives by is operated by a sober and alert driver.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask 🙂


Please, if you have been drinking, feel like you have had too much to drink, know you have had too much to drink or question your ability to get home safely after being out and drinking….


I repeat….


It will be so much safer for EVERYONE!

Until next time….

Love, Jeni ❤

Coming Out of Pain


It’s physical and emotional. Usually at the same time.

And especially at the beginning.

Depending on the cause of pain, the physical component can fade, but the emotional part can continue on for what seems like an eternity. 


It does not discriminate. It doesn’t care about timing. It comes in all forms like:

  1. Death – the loss of a loved one
  2. Break-ups – the end of a long term relationship, a marriage, or even a job
  3. Physical – broken bones, cuts and scrapes, illness (chronic or terminal) or allergies
  4. Emotional – depression, anxiety, anger
  5. Finances (or lack thereof)


It’s solitary, yet can cast a wide net and affect others around you.

While you can share how your pain feels to you, no one can literally feel the pain you are feeling in the way that you feel it. That doesn’t mean people can’t or don’t feel compassion though. At least for little while. 

But, pain can be isolating, especially when it hangs on. And when it hangs on, sometimes, there are people that don’t have the ability to stay in your life and weather the storm with you and watch while you try to navigate the bumpy road of getting back to life. Back to finding joy and happiness again.

During my season of pain I lost a few friends. Relationships I would have banked to stand the test of time, last forever, all that good stuff. 

That wasn’t the case, and it’s totally okay. 

I feel sadness that the relationships, dissolved, but I also understand at the same time that we are all built with different coping skills. Not everyone has the tolerance to watch people they care about fall apart and not be able to do anything about it, because the silly, little humans we are think we can actually fix people when they are broken and in the darkest of places.

And when we can’t fix the people we love, that helplessness creeps in and it’s a terrible feeling. Rather then feeling like a stoodge because we can’t fix something or someone, we disconnect and seek the butterflies and unicorns that bring joy in our lives so we don’t have to watch the sorrow and pain in someone else’s life.

During my journey of coming out of pain I have learned that forgiveness breaks the chains that keep you captive, love is the constant that heals and hope is always in front of me, even when I can’t see it.  I have been truly blessed to have some ridiculously amazing and supportive people in my life that just wouldn’t give up on me no matter how hard I tried to push them away.

If you are struggling today. If you are thinking of doing something that will be permanent. If you need someone to talk to. Please, reach out to me. Reach out to someone you trust. Lean on your faith and remember that the darkness is temporary. 

And most importantly, that you are loved ❤️

Until next time…

Love, Jeni

I Am Your Uber Driver: Feedback From the Cockpit

Welcome to my awesome VW Passat! Come on in. Make yourself comfortable. If you need anything, please let me know. I strive for you to have the best Uber experience ever. In fact, I have to brag for just a second, I have a 5 star rating and I’m incredibly proud of that.

I love my Uber job. I love that I get to talk to people. To hear their story. Because you just don’t know who will be getting in your car and where they are from, what they do or what they have experienced. 

Like the pair of business travelers I picked up from the airport a couple weeks ago. They were Doctors from Philidelphia, here in Jacksonville for a conference. Turns out, they know my cousins’ creperie, Beaumonde, in South Philly and have eaten there many times. It’s one of their fave places to go. Sweet! We really do live on a small planet. 

Or Andreya, an amazing lady who just published her book and is now available on Amazon. I had the privilege of picking her up twice from her job. The second time she was so happy to see me, it was like meeting an old friend. She reported that she had found a church she’s just in love with, as well as getting some positive feedback from her superiors at work regarding her performance to date. It was awesome to catch up with her and hear such joyful and positive news ❤

Then there’s Alejandro. An elderly Cuban immigrant, a retired mailman, who snowbirds here six months out of the year and lives in Queens, NY the other half. A sweet gentleman, whose never driven and is in the end stages of emphysema and being treated at the Mayo Clinic out at the beaches. He enjoys his family, all things history, traveling and music. But it’s hard for him to get out and socialize these days and he’s lonely. I just wanted to hug him and tell him all would be fine. I pray for him.

And then there are the guests who are…challenging. Like the Ukrainian woman with two small children who screamed at them in her native language and then screamed at me multiple times because I wasn’t driving fast enough (she was panicked that they would miss their flight) to her liking. I assured her, calmly, that I wasn’t going to break the law or risk my job, however, I would get her to the airport on time for her flight. Once we arrived and I started unloading her luggage, she came around the back of the car and apologized (I still gave her a 2 star rating) to me. 

Then there’s the time I picked up these two young ladies who wanted to go to the beach. It was late in the afternoon on a Sunday and they stunk to high heaven of some potent Mary Jane…

…that’s pot, marijuana, grass, chiba or whatever else you want to call it.

These young ladies were a complete, reeking, train wreck, eating pork rinds in my car and making a mess. At one point, I was asked to detour to Dairy Queen, for more munchies, but they had no idea which direction it was, so that ate up extra time. Once we found the DQ, one of the two apologized for her purse being “loud” (millennial slang for pot odor I’m guessing) and proceeded to spray my car down with some nasty Febreze….without even asking me first. I was about ready to go postal by this point. On top of that, the next fare I had stacked, cancelled, so I lost out on that money. I just wanted these rude girls out of my car. After all that nonsense, diverting to take them to DQ, and losing a fare, they didn’t even tip me.


I work hard to earn my money. I keep my car impeccably clean and smelling good. My cup holders are filled with sweet mints. I have chargers available, as well as hand sanitizer and tissues if you need them. I ask your preferences for climate and music. All to make your ride more enjoyable.   This is not the norm for Uber drivers. Many don’t give a flip what their cars look or even smell like. Trust me, I’ve been in them.  I use Uber too.

And some drivers, they are downright rude. Not cool. 

So let me share some tips from the cockpit, a drivers perspective. 

Uber drivers are:

Private, for hire, self-employed drivers. We are sub contractors for Uber. They 1099 us. That means I have to estimate my taxes so I’m not in trouble at the end of the year when I file.  Surprisingly, a lot of my guests don’t realize I’m not directly employed by Uber. 

It takes $$$

It actually costs money to work for Uber. We use more gas, put above average mileage on our cars, and do maintenance more frequently. Because of this, tips are greatly appreciated. After all, we are providing a service, just like a public taxi does. And when you take a taxi, you usually tip (I would hope) your driver.

Be My Guest

We actually want you to get in our car, feel comfortable and relaxed, but we also want you to treat said car with the same respect you would treat your own. So please, if you are going to bring food or drink in to our vehicles, clean up after yourself. Report spills immediately. I promise, I won’t get mad. In fact, I will be grateful that you told me, so I can clean up before my next guest climbs on board. 
Finding You & Wait Times

If your address is obscure, or you’re at a large plaza, mall or a restaurant, please send us a text describing your actual location and/or the business name. It helps us find you quicker instead of us driving around like stupid little bugs all over your smartphone screen. 

When your driver arrives to pick you up, please be ready. Don’t have us waiting for you. You are notified how long it will take for your car to arrive and again when we have arrived. Making us wait is just plain rude. It takes time away from us to service another fare, especially if we have a fare stacked and waiting. I’m pretty generous and will give a 5 minute wait window. 

If you have asked us to wait, remember, it takes away from other fares. This is an excellent example of an appropriate tipping situation.

This is My Job

We aren’t your friends showing up to give you a ride to the mall for five bucks in gas money. We are Owner Operators, trying to make a living and pay our bills, or put our kids through college, maybe pay off debt or medical bills, even save for a dream vacation. 

Rating System and Feedback

Please, use the rating system. Leave feedback. Share your experience.  It’s all good. I work hard to provide exceptional service and I’m super proud of my 5 star rating and customer testimonials!

At the end of the day, we are human beings providing a service. We are trying to make a living while YOU are out living.

Btw, we commend you for being smart and using Uber to go out on the town and drink your face off! You are not only smart to not get behind the wheel, but you’re being safe too. Plus, if you’re lucky, you get to have an enjoyable ride experience in a sweet looking Passat!

I hope that if you ever come to Jacksonville, Florida I will have the honor of being your Uber driver…..

….just make sure you got cash on hand to tip your drivers.  I promise you, they will be so grateful you did. Thanks!

Until then…

Love, Jeni ❤

Rock Climbing: Facing My Fear of Heights (or midget trying to scale a wall 😬)

(27 January 2017 – The Edge Rock Gym – Jax FL)

So, when one of your besties says, “Hey, let’s go rock climbing Friday night, I hear it’s an awesome full body workout!”, two very distinct and different voices scream out it my cave woman brain….

The first voice, also known as the Personal Trainer voice, immediately responds with the following:

“FUCK YEAH! Workout? Fitness? Pulling my body weight up a wall? I am IN THERE like swimwear!!!”

Then the second voice, also known as the Wimpy Pants voice, in a teeny mouse like way says:

“Umm, excuse me, there is NO WAY I’m climbing anything!? Did you forget we are scared of heights? Need I remind you of Rebel Race 2013? That giant wall? The one that, once you got to the top and it was wobbling all over the place with 30 lunatic monkeys scaling up and over it like it was an anthill, but you completely froze at the top and your friend had to literally climb back up to talk you down!? Yeah. That one! No way are we willingly going rock climbing!”

Clearly, the Personal Trainer voice won and while I’m certainly not cured of my fear of heights, I think I’ve made a good start at facing the obstacles that can often prevent me from experiencing and enjoying fun things in life, like indoor rock climbing with my friend.

I’m grateful that Melissa is a part of my life.  Her love of physical challenges and adrenaline rushes help to push me to face my fears and challenge myself…that’s a good thing.

On this first night of rock climbing, she kept attacking this one climb and eventually made it to the top.  I was really proud of her (and a teeny bit jelly because I was too scared to get all the way to the top), but I did manage to make it 3/4 of the way on a straight climb, and for that I’m really proud of myself.  This experience was a major accomplishment for me considering that when I walked in the door to the gym I was pretty sure I wouldn’t make it two feet up that intimidating wall!

(L. She made it!  R. I almost made it!)

The next day I was so completely sore (gravity and body weight will always win) from pulling myself up those walls for two hours, my hands were blistered up and I had a huge smile on my face.  A truly great experience!

We will return another day to climb again and I will have another chance to face my fears, punch them in the face and keep trying to reach the top, because I won’t quit until I do.

I hope you all have a friend in your life like Melissa, who inspires you the way she inspires me ❤

Until next time…

Love, Jeni


Happy Mail


Have you ever received “Happy Mail”?

Come on.  You know what I’m talking about…

You walk out to the mailbox (the real one, outside your front door; not the one on your computer or smartphone), open the door and pull out real, honest to Abe, mail delivered by a man  or woman driving that little white truck that says US Postal service on it?

These days, it’s probably just bills that come every month like clockwork and weekly supermarket coupon circulars, but every now and then, you get something that’s unexpected and makes you feel good, feel loved……

…you get a piece of Happy Mail.  Now that’s what I’m talking about!

How lucky am I that I was the recipient of such a treasure just last week?

I’m going to say pretty darn lucky… because I can.

It’s no coinkydink that said piece of Happy Mail is directly linked to my new obsession (thanks to the sender of my Happy Mail BTW) known as the Happy Planner by Create 365.

Side Bar:  If you don’t have a Happy Planner, STOP reading this blog immediately, get in the car, go directly to Michaels or Hobby Lobby, buy one, throw in some fun sticker books, a crap load of super crafty, whimsical and colorful washi tape along with a bunch of neon and sparkle gel pens, then return home and continue reading this blog before you dive in to your new obsession….you can thank (or curse me) later 😀

My fave sticker in my Happy Mail from Tamaria (check out her amazing blog here) says “You deserve all the good things” and it immediately went in to my Happy Planner, smack dab in the middle of 12 January and then I built out around it.  The week ended up looking…



This week, 16 January, starts with the “Life is so good” sticker and so far the page is beginning to look colorful and joyful.

It’s like my Happy Planner is a paper Instagram that I get to decorate with my to do’s and daydreams, chores and friend dates, pictures, races and workouts.  I also track my miles that will be combined with my teammates miles as we march forward to make 2017 miles in 2017 together as Team #fabfocusedfour

It’s safe to say that I spend about an hour each day involved in my planner.  Longer on weekends.  Me and Melissa take trips to Michaels together to get supplies and talk about crafty ways to decorate our planners (I got Melissa a Happy Planner for Christmas) and then I FaceTime with Tamaria to share my score with her and jokingly blame her and Melissa for turning me in to a Happy Planner crafting fiend…

…and I so love them for it ❤

When I’m not near my Happy Planner, I’m thinking about it, envisioning the colors or prints of washi tape I might choose, the tasks that I will write down for each day, or the goals I want to accomplish for the week.

So, what tasks do I have this week?

Well, one of them is sending some Happy Mail to my amazing friend Tamaria….

….the good ol’fashioned way 😉

Until next time.

Love, Jeni ❤




Good Riddance 2016: Year in Review


I’m not sad to see 2016 end.

If I could push it off a cliff I would.  I’m just so ready for 2016 to die.

But, while I’m waiting, I may as well share my year in review.

My intentions for 2016 to be a great year were solid!  Until January 2nd…

January – April

After returning from an inspiring holiday trip to Virginia to spend time with my amazing and beautiful friend for the holiday season (check out her awesome blog here) I returned home to Florida with my big girl panties pulled up and ready to kick ass.  It was a short lived effort.  I couldn’t duck from the hits coming.  I was miserable where I was living, working at a job that I didn’t like, not making enough money, unable to keep up with and pay my bills, repair my constantly breaking car or eat healthy.  Every decision I made blew up in my face.  I sunk deeper in to despair and darkness.

I turned away from my faith, my God and my church.  If I wasn’t working, I was sleeping.  I stopped working out.  Shut out my friends and family one by one.  Until finally, I decided I was going to end my life.

For a month I researched what seemed to be effective ways to kill myself that would be as painless as possible with little to no mess.  I planned it right down to a specific date.  I was ready to close my eyes and go to sleep permanently.

But there was an Angel.

And dontcha know, she just wouldn’t quit.


(Me and Shirley, June 2016, at JP Boot Camp, Georgia)

She would constantly send me text messages containing passages from the Bible.  Or an “I love you”.  Sometimes a song.  She was always asking me to come to church with her.  This woman, she fought for me when I gave up on myself.

The week that I was planning to end my life (the same week of Easter), my Angel messaged me.  She asked me if I would join her at church for Easter service.  I told her yes; even though I knew that if everything went as planned, I wouldn’t be making that date.  I could not see what was coming or be remotely prepared for it, but it was monumental, and I’m pretty sure, calculated by the Big Guy, to occur at  very specific moment.

It was life changing.

I can’t share it just yet, but I promise I will…it’s a really good story!

So, here I am, just a couple of days before Easter and I’m realizing that I can’t go through with my plan now.  I owe it to myself to see where this new information will take me.  And now, I had a date to honor.  I was going to Church with my friend on one of the holiest days of the year, Easter, and hope that God would forgive me and take me back in to his fold.

As we stood side by side during services my Angel raised her hand behind me and prayed over me.  I could hear the faintest of whispers coming from her lips, and while I knew she was praying for me, I couldn’t make out her pleas.  I may not have heard her words, but I sure could feel the energy and love emitting from her body, surrounding me and I began to sob as I silently asked God to forgive me.  To take me back.  To make he his.  I asked to be saved from the pain and the burden that weighed me down.  That was the moment that I knew I had to leave Bradenton.  Take one more chance.  Another risk.

Start over.  One last time.

At the end of March, I packed my things and moved to Jacksonville.  No place to live.  No job.

Scary.  As.  Shit.

April – October

I landed in Jacksonville on a Saturday afternoon and for a month stayed with a friend.  Two days after arriving I went to a job fair and landed an interview with a company I was familiar with.  It was hard, manual labor in a warehouse, but I didn’t care.  I just needed a job where I didn’t have to think.  Ironically, I interviewed on my birthday and was hired on the spot.

Now, living in Florida and working in a warehouse…yeah, it’s hotter then Hades.  I didn’t care.  It was physical and mindless.  I liked that.  At the end of the day, I clocked out and left it all behind.  I made some great friends there and I still see them regularly.

Now, my Angel wouldn’t have me living in a huge city where I didn’t know someone, so she connected me to her nephews wife, Melissa.  She is an awesome person and we hit it off right away.  We joke about the first time we met; how we were set up on a “blind friend date”!  Best ever!  She teaches me how to nurture my crafty side and encourages me to have fun with it and make her do kettle bell swings, burpees and push ups.  We both love a lot of the same things and she keeps me grounded.  I smile when I think of her, she’s another Angel ❤

I digress…

With a little help from my favorite Aunt, I rented a room in the city of Jacksonville.  I was super excited because I felt like I was finally getting back on my feet.  Making a little bit of money.  Getting my bills paid.  Renting a space of my own.  A stepping stone to eventually moving in to my own place.  I really liked the lady who was renting the room too.

I rented some bedroom furniture and moved in with her in the middle of May.  Things would be great…for about a hot minute.


(Tippy on the steps of the “crazy” house)

A couple weeks after moving in to the “crazy” house I took a new job at the double the salary.  No more hot warehouse and 12 hours of standing on my feet packing boxes.  I would be back in my old niche as an Office Manager able to bring Tippy to work every day.  Bonus.  However, the sense of stability wouldn’t last long because it turns out that the Owner can’t keep an Office Manager longer then two months because he thinks it perfectly acceptable to threaten their job when he doesn’t get his way.  I think he was colluding with land lady!

About the same time I switched jobs the lady of the house started showing that she wasn’t as nice as she portrayed herself to be prior to my moving in.  The situation was so bad and so unwelcoming, that I was spending weekends at Melissa’s and eventually had to hire an attorney to get out of my lease early.  Best money I’ve spent in long time.

I found a beautiful town home in the Mandarin neighborhood of Jacksonville, signed the lease and was ready to take occupancy in August.  I moved in to a 2/2.5, 1200+ square foot home with just a couple of things, but I didn’t care.  I was going to make it work.  Figure it out.  It was a long time coming to finally arrive in a place to call home and establish roots.

October – December

I left a superbly crappy living situation, an equally shitty job and began to settle in to my new home and a new (temporary) job with the local school district.  I loved being with the kids, but the pay wasn’t there, nor was the job.  As I began searching, yet again, for a job with better pay, we were about to get our asses kicked by Hurricane Matthew.  I’m sure you’ve heard about it?  Big, giant hurricane, killed a bunch of people from Haiti all the way up the coast to the Carolinas?  Yeah, that little thing.

I’ve seen shows about hurricanes, or watched the news from New York when they were happening in Florida, but this would be my first exposure to one and it I was legit, scared out of my mind.  I decided to evacuate to Lake Mary and be with my framily.  While I was there I started to think about all the jobs that would come available to help with the aftermath of the disaster.  I knew I wanted to help those affected by the hurricane so I started searching right away.

When I returned home three days post Matthew, I was so sad to see my community just completely beat up from the storm.  I can’t explain how dreary it all looked.  The magnitude of loss people were facing.

And as God always provides just when the time is right, I landed in my current job working for an all female owned and operated restoration and reconstruction company.

Although I’m in the office most days, I have been able to help, console and counsel people who have suffered significant loss because of the Hurricane.  Not to mention, that I love the ladies I work with and our pets come to work every day.  That’s three chiwahwahs and a super cool cat that I swear was once a human.  It’s good.  Really good.


(Tippy and Sherlock, working hard)

For Thanksgiving, I got to celebrate with my amazing friend, Tamaria, in Virginia.  I love this girl.  She’s the salt of the earth.  We talked.  Did a 5k on Thanksgiving morning (she wrote about it here) and then enjoyed a super yummy and healthy dinner.  After, she tried to educate me on Black Friday.  I still don’t get it, but I had a great time!  And I got to make her laugh, which is always a bonus.  I miss her terribly, but she’s a short flight away and we will see each other very soon.  We gots mad plans for 2017!


(Me and the Amazing Tamaria just before the Prince William Turkey Trot 5k)

After returning from Thanksgiving I would be facing a big challenge.  Running my first Half Marathon.  A goal that’s been on my list for two years now.

Did I have enough training?  Hell no.  That got interrupted by that pesky Matthew and long  7 day work weeks.

But I was determined to lace up my Brooks and get that bitch done!

It wasn’t pretty, but I accomplished my goal and I am damn proud of myself!  I couldn’t have done it without Melissa.  She cheered me on through motivational text messages after she completed her 5k and she was there at the finish with hugs and congratulations.  Me and her, we got some runs planned for 2017!  It’s going to be epic!

(Me and Melissa just before the Half start and me after the race with my medal)

And here we are, December 31st, 2016.  On the precipice of another New Year.  It’s time to evict 2016.

It’s time to move forward and focus on goals and growth.  No looking back.  Eye on the prize.

I’m waiting for you 2017.

Until next time…

Love, Jeni ❤


Smoke, soot & cookies…not what you think.

I work for a local restoration and reconstruction company not far from where I live in Jacksonville.  For the most part, I spend my days in the office as a Customer Service Liaison…

…liaison-ing 😀

Until today, I had never been to an initial loss site visit.  I’ve been on job sites that were already in progress, but was not prepared for what I saw and experienced today.

A fire loss.

We arrived at a beautiful home in the cute, historic-ish neighborhood of San Marco.  From the outside, it didn’t seem like the damage would be wide spread.  After all, we were briefed that the loss was minimal smoke and fire damage in a few parts of the house.

This was not the case and what I saw filled me with so much sadness I could barely stand it.

With respirators on we went in to the house to document damage and contents.  Tagging items that could possibly be saved and others that were so damaged but had sentimental meaning to the Homeowner.

My job was to take pictures of each damaged room.  In this case, it was all rooms.  Fifteen to be exact, not including exterior.

It took me almost two hours to take all the pictures, and as those two hours passed, immersed among the residual smoke, fire and soot damage, seeing the loss of memories created over the course of more than 30 years, I became not only physically ill, but heartsick too.  Knowing the feeling of loss.  Understanding the finality of it.  That you cannot replace what is gone.

The Bible tells us we shouldn’t be drawn in to attachment of material “things”.  The reality is, the memory of your wedding day in a 24 x 12 frame, most likely  holds an attachment to your heart and soul.  As it should.  Now, it’s gone forever.

Along with melted kitchen appliances, computers, books, furniture, clothes, mattresses, linens, shoes, jewelry, musical instruments, carpets, pet toys, and the list goes on.


(stock photo found on Google; not actual job site)

Even though I was wearing my respirator, booties and gloves, it was not enough to keep the smell of smoke from permeating not only my hair and clothes, but also in to my eyes and lungs.  Leaving me with an excruciating headache and mild nausea.  I wanted to get out of there.  To flee from the bleakness of the situation.

And then I saw the Homeowner, slowly and methodically going through items in the Master Bedroom.  Trying to find something, anything, salvageable that pertains to his life. Moving things from one side of the room to the other.  I quietly offered my apologies and moved along to finish my pictures and giving him his privacy among the remains of his belongings.

This was a total loss.  The house will need to be gutted; demoed to the studs.  Rebuilt.  So that this family can return and fill their home with new memories as they honor the ones that were created before this devastating loss.

We wrapped up and were on our way to another location.  A mold remediation job.  I have had the pleasure of assisting this family for many weeks on the phone, through two unrelated losses.  I was really looking forward to meeting her.

When we arrived she invited us in.  Her home was welcoming and warm.  The smell of homemade cookies baking in the oven.  Heaven.  Heaven compared from where we had just come from.

The stark contrast of brightness and cookies and blackness and soot that still remained in our memory and on our clothes was not lost on us.

We conducted our business.  Signed paperwork and left with a full, warm tin of homemade, gluten-free peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies made with love and gratitude.


They were incredibly delish!  We housed almost half of the tin before we even got back to the office!  Hey, no judgement!  Besides, we shared with everyone 😉

For the remainder of the day I sat at my desk with the smell of smoke jammed up my nose and looking forward to coming home to get out of my clothes and wash the sadness and smell of loss out them.  To literally undress the memory from my brain and my body.

I ask you dear readers, please pray for this family that has lost everything so close to Christmas.  Pray for those who are struggling right now.  The homeless.  The poor.  The disadvantaged.  The lonely.  Pray for your neighbor, and even for your enemies.

Because in just a blink of an eye, it can all be taken away.  It is all so incredibly temporary.

Be kind.  Show love.  Be genuine.  Give of your time.  I promise, you won’t be sorry.

Until next time…

Love, Jeni ❤