Jen Survives Winter

white christmas wedding

We’re having another honeymoon this weekend. It’s the beginning of Marching Band season and somehow, we found ourselves without kids for the weekend.

This never happens.

So, we’re at the coffee shop, he’s reading and laughing and I’m writing for Beautiful You.

We have a whole list of chores to do – some honeymoon. But I’m calling it that anyway, cause I tend to name things.

This Spring I started something called The Friendship Project cause I looked up one day and realized I don’t have any friends. Well, of course I do have friends. But they all still live in my old neighborhood back in Virginia.

And I realized I’ve lived here for more than three years but still driving back across the river to see people.

And so I made it my mission to make new friends, which is really kinda sweet when you think about it.

I got more involved in my networking group and I would call women and say, “I’m creating something new for myself called The Friendship Project and I’d like to know if you’d like to meet me for coffee or lunch and get to be friends.”

It was completely silly and completely lovely at the same time.

And so now I have friends.

We’re getting ready to go into the winter months again, and that scares me – cause remember how blue I’ve been these past three winters (hmmm, three winters and three years in my new town.)

So, I’m delegating a week to each of my friends. Here’s what we’re doing – lunch ever Wednesday.

Yep, with a different friend. I’m loaning myself out for the entire winter.

And I have two trips planned to warm places in January and February. And, I’ve officially branded February as the “month of reclamation.” That way, I won’t be surprised that it’s dark and cold and full of nothing – except my birthday and Valentine’s Day.

Anyway, that is the beginning shape of my Jen Survives Winter Plan. (Even though I realize that, technically, it’s still Summer._

How about you? Anything you would add?

Love, Jen

photo: Our Wedding Day, Xmas Eve — we think 2009, but we’re not sure.

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Meet the Kids

Dearest Ones.

I know we don’t talk about our kids here, but I’m gonna today. It’s my center son’s 20th birthday, and I’ve been writing for you for nearly five years now and it kinda feels time.

As you’ll see, it looks like I had triplets, one at a time.

Here’s my eldest, Clark. He graduates from college in December. He’s an economics major. Super bright. Quiet. Deeply feeling. He was the most beautiful baby you’ve ever seen. Smiled all the time.













Next is Avery. He’ll be twenty tomorrow. He’s the English major who flunked ninth grade English cause he didn’t like the way they taught it. So he flunked, while he was reading Tolstoy. Now he wants to teach it at the college level.

avery, reading at coffee shop


Finally, there is Logan. A high school sophomore. He’s my trumpet player. Musician like his mama, though I was into concert music and he’s all about the marching band.

logan at fred co fair



The boys have three stepbrothers — Paul, Tony, and Pete.  Here is everyone together from last Thanksgiving (with Shannon. Oh, and Hunter):boys and shannon
Anyway, here at Life After Tampons we keep the focus on ourselves.  We don’t hide behind our families.

My children are a really important part of my life, but I have never made them responsible for my happiness.

That is my job.

They aren’t responsible for happiness. But they have brought me a lot of joy.

Love, Jen

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Waiting for the Grass to Grow


So I’m putting all this cool stuff out into the world – or I’m getting ready to. And, here’s the process.

First you create.
Then you edit.
Then you pray.
They you put it out there.

And then you WAIT to hear back from – potential clients, agents, and other people who can help move your beautiful work to the next place so that you can

Create some more.
Edit some more.
Pray some more.

And then put it out there.

So you can WAIT.

I’m currently WAITING.

Oh, I have stuff to do.
But I don’t wanna do that stuff.

I wanna hear from the people.

I LOVE sharing my “stuff” with the world.

And I’m kinda sorta a recognition junkie. Truly, sometimes I sit here and refresh, refresh, refresh, waiting for Beautiful You to “like” my work, or “share” my work, or “sign up” my work.

So some of it is out there. And more is coming.

And I just can’t wait for you to see it.

In the meantime, I’ll get the weed whacker out.

Cause, grass.

Love, Jen

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photo: flickr, holdsworthdesign

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I never noticed that there was an actual prayer in the word “AMENd.” Truly, there’s a prayer in every changed behavior.

Here’s what that says to me:

The other day someone was really shitty to me.

But I am the one making amends. I’m the one changing my behavior, changing my expectations (they’re way different now), changing my hopes for this relationship.

I’ve been living a sober life for more than 26 years now. And part of that process is making amends. Those years of active amends are long gone now. There hasn’t been any destruction from my drinking for many many years now.

All of the destruction now has to do with whether or not I can maintain Emotional Sobriety.

This is a difficult one for me. I have challenges with depression and the winter is coming. That scares me a little as it has hit hardest these last three Februaries.

But I have a plan for this winter (called The Friendship Project) and I hope for greater things.

So, the amends I make today are due to the damage caused by my own emotional drunkenness. I shy away from difficult people and they take that as tacit approval. I need to live more in faith and less in fear.

I can’t let anyone or anything become my Higher Power. For me, that one is Grace and she speaks to me through the gift of expression.

I’ve been blessed. Yep, even with all the loss and sorrow of a midlife existence, I can avow that I am blessed among women.

And I am grateful.


photo: flickr, Bodhicitta

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