The moment I accepted my life was a beautiful, chaotic, sometimes a little-messy-but-always-entertaining circus was the moment I felt a true release.

There's no sense in fighting the madness, but I've picked up a few tricks to keep the show going along the way.

I hope they work as well for you as they have [and still do] for me.

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What I Learned from Running

I ran a half marathon on April 27th.  Did I mention I was in training since January? No, probably not. I was nervous about the whole situation. Like really really nervous.  I have never been that big of a runner.  I signed up because both my sister (who IS a runner) and my brother were both running and I didn’t want to be left out. <— I’ll get to that part a little later.

On a whim at 1:30 in the morning on December 31st, I signed up for the St Jude Country Music Half Marathon. It was a solid three and a half months of training…..and let’s just say I picked up a few more things than tighter legs muscles along the way.  Obviously I didn’t mind the health benefits, but what I didn’t expect was the life benefits. Bonus!

And so here it is: My top 5 life lessons I learned from running:

1. Humility is the stuff dreams are made of.  Because nothing puts you in your place faster than passing slower runners going up the bridge, with a slight chip on your shoulder……..and next thing you know a 60 year old man zips past you like a Kenyan rock star. Lesson.learned.

2. Fake it till you make it goes a long way.  Have you seen the movie What about Bob?  It’s one of my favorites. Bill Murray at his greatest.  In the movie he repeats a mantra to himself over and over and over – I feel fine. I feel great. I feel wonderful. – it helps him do little things like leave his apartment in the morning.  Welp, I repeated that mantra on nearly every training run I did. Over and over and over.  When I was hurting, when I was half asleep, when I was on a roll – my mantra was there, pushing me through to the end. Because sometimes you need to fake it until you make it to that last mile. I feel fine. I feel great. I feel wonderful. 

3. You are your own best cheerleader. During the race there’s of course 30,000 of your closest friends running along side you, but when it comes to running – you’re running by yourself. It’s awesome on the race route all the people that were there cheering on the runners. So awesome. But where were they on all those 6 a.m. training runs?? Sheesh.  And so I learned real quick, I was the only one who was going to get me from one mile to the next. I began congratulating myself at every single mile on every single training run.  And it wasn’t just in my head, oh no, we’re talking fists in the air Rocky Balboa style. There was no half assing that one, kids. I made it a point to be very clear to myself how proud I was to make it through these small steps along the way. It made a huge difference in my runs…..and in my life.

4. Stop comparing yourself to others. You don’t know how long that person was running before they shot past you.  You aren’t out there to set a world record.  You barely even call yourself a runner! So why the heck are you (read that as….why the heck am I) comparing myself to every runner around and second guessing everything? That doesn’t make much sense now does it.  Keep your mind in your own yard and focus on yourself. That’s all that matters.

5. Not wanted to be left out of a picture is a silly reason to run 13.1 miles.  (especially when you brother bails 2 weeks before the race)

marathon photo

but it was worth every minute of it.

Paranoia will destroy ya.

Posted in lessons learned

I stole the title from a coworker. The day she said it we were speaking of one of her former coworkers and I almost spit out my water I started laughing so hard.

Paranoia will destroy ya.

Ummm, yes and yes. And the fact that it rhymes – that’s a third yes right there. I initially laughed at the perfect timing in the conversation the comment was slid in, but once I returned to my desk it hit me just how true that statement is. And I mean not just true …. but wicked TRUE.

Throughout history, leaders have led hundreds of followers into a straight tizzy with no better reason than paranoia at a possible outcome on some perverse, non-existent plane. I, myself, have caused many an unnecessary worry line and argument in a relationship based solely on some issue rooted in paranoia.

Paranoia will destroy ya.

I mean, it burns, man. What’s the saying about holding a grudge? It only hurts yourself? That’s paranoia. It’s like holding a match and forgetting to blow it out until the tips of your fingers are burned. I’m trying to focus on letting go of unnecessary anxieties or worries in my life.  The irony of those 4 words grouped together helps me keep focus on my efforts.  I thought it might help you too.

Paranoia will destroy ya.


jennie b

p.s. I read something somewhere a long time ago that said if you read a sentence at least 3 times it sticks in your memory better. You’re welcome.

There’s usually a community for a reason.

I think in ancient texts the name Frances (or Francis) might be the equivalent to the word stubborn. This is just an observation, but follow along with me on this one:

So you know I’m on Clean. It’s Day 16 (woop woop!) and ever since about day 8 I’ve been experiencing extreme dry mouth. No clue what it is! I Bing’d and thought it could have been an overdose of Fiber – because I thought I’d ever have that problem in my life – but turns out, pumping the breaks on the fiber supplements wasn’t the solution.

Of course my formerly hypochondriac mind starts going ca-razy as I create the list of possible illnesses this cleanse has mysteriously uncovered lurking in my body which were now rearing their ugly triple horned heads. Tonight as I debated what kind of doctor I would need to see for this dry mouth condition, it occurred to me that I had signed up for the Support Community on the Clean Program’s web site a few weeks back when I was still looking into getting started.  ZING! Lightbulb. Hesitation.

Had I actually participated in said community? No, of course not. Why? Well, I felt a little ridiculous.  It’s a cleanse.  What was I gonna do – chat about what berries I’m using in my morning shakes compared to which legumes are paired with my free range chicken lunches? Exactly. But to be completely honest, another reason I hadn’t checked out this community page yet? I’m stubborn.* I think I can do things on my own. I don’t like to ask for help all that much, especially if I think it may make me feel not so smart.

*It’s really a quality that has done much worse than good for me over the years. It also seems to run in my family. Seriously – you should see all of us get in an argument – no one is backing down. No one. Stubborn may in fact BE our middle names. 

Well. As simple as it sounds, I buckled down, set up my profile, did some searching (turns out dry mouth is quite the common side effect here), posted my question and you know what happened? Within 15 minutes another recent case of dry mouth raised their hand AND a member of the Clean Team came to my rescue with a solution. Fifteen minutes! It took me longer to pick out what scrubs I wanted to wear this morning and they only come in black or blue!

Who’s got two thumbs and feels a little silly she didn’t just join the community and ask her question 8 days ago? This girl. Sheesh.

Lesson learned. If there’s a community or a support group, it’s probably there for a reason. Don’t be so stubborn next time. Asking for help is a good thing.

clean program community

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to switch gears and move the research to wedding texts and ceremony proceedings.  I’ll be marrying two friends come March (did I say that right?), and I don’t think they’ll be too appreciative if I procrastinate on getting their ceremony together.  I wonder if there’s a community for wedding officiants…..hmmm…..


jennie b

“You think too much sometimes.”

Posted in lessons learned, life

Yes that is a quote. And yes, that quote was said to me. By the wisest man I’ve ever known.

I was rambling off a million and one over-analytical, hypothetical, what if‘s in a conversation which took place in my parents’ sun room during Easter Holiday in 2007. I’ve always been one to come up with crazy, off the wall stories …. I can spin ’em with the best of ’em …. but there’s a fine line between creative story telling and completely wasting energies over-thinking faux (and real) life scenarios, unravelling all the tiny details which were, could have been, or had been involved.

While I was losing complete sight at the situation at hand, my Father – the man infamous for being the first to tell a person they need to sit down and think something through – waited patiently until I paused my nonsensical ramblings to turn his head and say …… “You think too much sometimes.”

That’s it. That was the end of the conversation. And with every passing month, I catch myself learning more and more the truth of that statement. A life lesson on when your thinking gets in the way with your living wrapped up in five words and ending with a period.

Sometimes that’s all it takes.

p.s. Look at what I found after months of it missing ……

The pistol pendant is back where it belongs. And not a moment too soon!

music snack : a fine frenzy

sad yet beautiful .. sometimes that says it all
A Fine Frenzy - Almost Lover


The Music Snack comes out every Wednesday to put a little rhythm in your week. Requests are always welcome, so don’t be shy!


A Letter to a 7 Year Old Girl

My dearest, sweet 7 year old Jennie,

Happy Birthday! I guess by now you’ve figured out that your big brother Jim was just kidding and there’s no test you have to pass before you can turn 7. (He will never stop joking around with you like that.) It’s my birthday too, except today I’m turning 27. There’s a lot that happens over the next 20 years of your life. Some of these things I want to apologize for and some, well, some will just be good to know. You won’t understand what I’m telling you now, but in 20 years it will all make perfect sense. Here we go….

  • For starters, I know you get frustrated being the baby of the family. It’s never going to change. You will always be the Little Sister and they are always going to look out for you, try to protect you and be your Big Brothers and Sister. One day you’ll realize just how lucky and grateful you are for that.
  • Your first (and only) detention in grade school is for initiating a peanut fight. Own it.
  • Right now you are living in state #3 / city #3. You’ve got a few more moves on the way. I’m in state #6 / city #7 right now. *Heads up: the move to state #4 / city #5 will scare the hell out of you but it will be the best year of your life. You might want to start learning Spanish now.
  • Being labeled as having the dynamic personality of the family ain’t all that bad.
  • In high school I’m sad to say you begin an awful downward spiral. You are going to develop very twisted views of the perfect body image which will lead to doing harmful and hurtful things to try and attain that image. This will occur off and on for years but eventually the cycle will come to an end as you become comfortable with who you are. I’m sorry I wasn’t strong enough. I’m sorry I starved you, forced you to rid yourself of food, and for all the lies I made you tell to cover this painful secret. After college, your self-consciousness fades to give way to self-assurance, and even today it’s still growing.
  • There’s going to be an incident Senior year of high school where you will wake your mother in the wee hours of the morning to speak to a police officer. You will never live this moment down. It will be a running joke in your family for years to come.
  • It takes a handful of spiral perms before you learn it is not a good look for you.
  • In college you are going to get your heart broken. Bad. For a few years you will look back absolutely horrified at how silly, naive, stubborn and humiliated you were. Honey – it’s all part of the journey and by the time you’re 27, the horrified part has slipped away and you will look back at these times with a smile, a little bit of laughter and say “Well that was one hell of a ride.
  • *Note: You will have this reaction when looking back at nearly all times in your life – the good, the bad, even the heinously ugly – don’t worry, just keep the journey going.

  • Your sister is going to become your dearest friend. Regardless of your differences, arguments and struggles, she’s always going to love you and be there for you and vice versa. Always.
  • Stick with your writing. Trust me.
  • When you are 24, you will go through the darkest time of your life. I won’t tell you what it is, but I want you to know this: the darkest time will spark a change greater than you could ever imagine. You will begin to see your world in a whole new way and I’m so excited for you to get to this part of your life.
  • And finally …. I’m sorry I stopped believing in the magic. This one single act caused an astounding ripple effect and much more than the magic I once believed in, that you believe in now, was locked away; held captive by a wall that grew thicker as time went by. But don’t fret, little one. Remember that big change I told you about? Well, I finally believe in the magic once again. It seemed like it took an eternity to get it back, but I promise, this time I’ll never let it go.

Well now, I know you are probably very confused by all of this but take comfort that in 20 years you will nod your head and smile. This by no means is all the highs and the lows, just a few pertinent points for you to keep an eye out for. But it’s time for you to go celebrate your 7th birthday…..enjoy your yellow cake with chocolate frosting, it’s always going to be your favorite.

Happy Birthday to you, dear sweet Jennie Boo!

love & magic,

Jennie B

p.s. You finally get to live by the Ocean one day. 😉

p.p.s. This song is your celebration song starting at about age 25 …. enjoy!

Docta, Docta!

Posted in lessons learned, life

While you are reading this right now I’m probably strapped into a chair, trying my hardest not to have a knee-jerk reaction out of panicky fear and send a plate full of utensils flying across the room.

I’m at the dentist’s office.

(Or at least I will be when this post arrives in your RSS feeds and mailboxes.) I’ll admit, it’s been a tad bit longer than the suggested time between visits. I’d been in the process of gearing myself up towards going again and seeing what all I need to have done and the like. As if someone felt I needed a little extra nudge to make sure I got myself to the dentist, something, of course, happened to my lower right wisdom tooth (which, yes I know, isn’t supposed to be there anyways), leaving me to cope with the throbbing pain spreading across my jaw.  So that’s where I am while you’re reading, having a dentist look at me and assess the situation. *I’ll let you know how it turns out.


I started thinking about how by nature, I’m a nurturing type of person. Nearly all women are on some level. If you are sick or hurt, there’s a good chance I’m going to offer my assistance. Whether it’s taking you somewhere, talking YOU into going to see a doctor, dropping off a casserole (store bought from me, obviously) anything, on instinct I ask what can I do to ease your situation. So I ask….


Why do we, as women, as natural born nurturers, tend to neglect nurturing ourselves, in the most important of ways, until often we have no other choice? Granted I am not speaking about every female, but I know a large portion who suffer from this same self-infliction. Is it laziness? Is it the money? Is it over-caring for others but under-caring for ourselves? Is it out of fear? Is it because we are often pre-dispositioned to place ourselves last on the list?

I’ll tell you what my hesitations were on going to the dentist: money & fear. (Funny how those two words are often lumped together.) See that picture over to the right? That’s what I think about when I envision going to the dentist, or pretty much any doctor’s office for that matter. I’ve never been a fan of the doctor’s office.

For anyone else I’m a pusher – a doctor pusher – a feel better, take care of it before it gets worse pusher. Given my hypochondriac tendencies, you’d think I’d be in the doctor’s office repeatedly. Like Veda in My Girl, every week a new ailment, but no. It takes something big to drag me to a doctor, but when it comes to a loved one, I’ll make the appointment for them myself if I have too.

I think my issues of going to the doctor are a combination of a few different things. My tendencies to take care of others before myself, silly fears and phobias, worries that there might be something wrong, etc. As always though, my body has a way of saying “HEY…you…yea, you…TAKE CARE OF MEEEEEEEEEEEE!” – whether in terms of something coming up or exhaustion setting in (an infamous tell that I need to slow down or I’m going to get more than a pesky cold).

At least my body is well aware, although my mind often isn’t, of how stubborn, hard headed, and nurture-neglectful I can be. It’s comforting to know there’s a part of me always in the driver’s seat. *even when the rest of me is trying to find the keys or busy driving someone else around.

photo credit: we♥it

Sonnet 29

Sonnet 29
When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings

William Shakespeare