Before I Was 40

by Jennifer E. 8. April 2011 08:11
"An archaeologist is the best husband any woman can have:  the older she gets, the more interested he is in her.
~ Agatha Christie
Today is my 40th birthday.  Last night in bed my husband (who is not an archaeologist but does like to keep old things around) and I were discussing our "transitions into mid-life".  I asked Steve if he had a hard time with turning 40, which was almost 3 years ago.  Steve said, "I'm still having a hard time with turning 40".  I laughed and said, "Oh yeah, I forgot that 'The Elmers Do Things Slowly'."  Over the years I have often heard this family adage from both Steve and his mom and I do give Steve credit for giving me this warning early on in our relationship.
At the time I probably thought "That won't pertain to anything in our relationship" or "I can fix that".  Honestly I am grateful today that, mostly due to the pain of intolerance and lack of control over others, my patience and tolerance has improved tremendously over the past 12 years.  I am also grateful for the love and tolerance I can give myself today when I need to "do things slowly".
So, I am slowly writing and re-writing this post on before I copy and paste it into my blog site.  I have figured out that blogging is certainly not journaling.  And that blogging can be an ideal outlet for my perfectionism or a royal pain in my ass because of my perfectionism.  Today it happens to be a pain in my ass so I'm going to try something different and call it "Before I Was 40".   
Before I was 40, I started my daily meditation practice. 
Yes, I'm only on Day 3 of this daily practice but I am visualizing myself saying this 10 or 20 years down the line.
Before I was 40, I did not floss my teeth regularly.
This may gross some of you out.  I apologize.  I wish I had your discipline where this is concerned.  Maybe this is the year.
(Notice that no matter what I do from here on out these statements will be true.)
Before I was 40, I lived, studied, worked, and loved in many states, towns, homes, and meeting rooms.
I expect the adventures to continue.


Before I was 40, I stopped drinking and found a way of life unlike any I had ever known.
Actually, this was before I was 25 :).

Before I was 40, my husband and I enjoyed each other, our homes, our communities, our friends, our kitties and our travels.
While we haven't traveled much outside of the U.S., we feel especially blessed to have traveled to Bhutan in 2009.  We spent two weeks in the nation often called "The Last Shangri-La", traveling its narrow mountain roads to the cities of Thimpu, Paro, and Punakha, experiencing Bhutanese culture, visiting several dzongs and Buddhists temples, and trekking for 8 days in the Himalayan Mountains.  It was an amazing experience.
Before I was 40, I did not have any children.
When I think about what is hard for me about turning 40 years old, the only thing that I think of is the fact that I am not yet a mom.
There are many reasons that Steve and I have not focused on having children before now, including the fact that it would be best for me to wean off of the anti-anxiety drug I am taking before I get pregnant.  I have started to wean off several times in the last few years, each time returning to my regular dose after a stressful life event.  2010 was full of these "events" but I have now reduced the dose and, with the help of meetings, meditation, and moving my ass (exercise), I plan to continue doing so.
I also believe in my heart that everything in my life is exactly as it is supposed to be.  I have spent many years able to be available for others, for my husband, and for myself.  Just yesterday someone called me in the morning and said she needed help that afternoon.  I knew it was very hard for her to make that call even before she told me so.  I told her I could be there at 3pm and I worked with her for 3 hours.  What a gift for me.
As the result of a willingness originally born of pain, and the grace of a higher power, I have been available to guide several women through the 12 Steps just as phenomenal women who "came before me" have done with me.  The hours spent between me and other amazing women who are wanting to live a "more spiritual" life, learning from and supporting one another, and growing in understanding of ourselves and the world around us, are countless and priceless.  I may not have had many of these experiences if I needed to be home raising a child or two.  I have also been blessed to spend time with my friends' children.
Yesterday my endocrinologist told me that my blood work still indicates that my ovaries seem to be working fine and I will be back on prenatal vitamins by the end of the month.  I crave the love and challenge of motherhood and I would love to witness the relationship between Stephen and his child.  If pregnancy isn't in the cards for Steve and me, we have discussed adoption many times.  We are blessed to have several friends who have been through the process both within and outside of the U.S. who are happy to share their experiences with us.  I believe that we have much love to offer any child with whom God chooses to bless us and...
(before I am 50 Tongue out)
I hope to be able to say that...
"After I was 40, I became a mother." 

My Interest in the Paranormal, part 1

by Jennifer E. 29. March 2011 10:34

"Do not insist upon your own fixed ideas. If your mind is broad it can easily embrace the entire world."
~ Zen Master Daehaeng

One night when I was a child I looked out our bathroom window and saw something that looked to be human size but covered in a glowing white cloak-type-thing hovering between two trees looking toward our house.  I remember feeling that it was some kind of being but not a malevolent one.  I was very young and while I still remember it vividly, it was so long ago that I easily discount it today and have mentioned it to very few people.  

Like many children, I went through a phase in which I was terrified of ghosts.  Some nights, I would get myself so worked up that I would be shaking in my bed.  At one point I had theorized that ghosts were the opposite of people and since people could hear you when you made noise, maybe ghosts could only hear you when you didn't make noise.  With my brothers sleeping in the room next to mine, I suspect they would have heard my constant humming and rustling around in my bed but I don't remember hearing anything about it from them. 

Before my parents started to feel unsafe for me, I spent many nights sleeping at the foot of their bed.  Some nights they insisted that I sleep in my own room.  On those nights I would wake my brother Jason to ask if I could sleep in their room.  He would usually let me and I was always relieved to be able to, even though I was not fond of the attic door which was in their room.  

The only other time in my life that I can remember feeling like I may have been in the presence of a spirit was in December 2005 when Steve and I were visiting his mother, Susan, at her home in Illinois.  Steve and I had gotten married earlier that year and Susan offered for us to sleep in her room while we were there.  I remember not feeling well after our long road trip so I took a nap in Susan's bed the day after we arrived.  I was falling asleep when suddenly I felt like I was bonked on the head and I immediately sat upright in the bed.  Strangely, it felt like the strong, sudden bonk came from the headboard of the bed.  I told Steve about it and he started to tell me about his experiences with "something creepy" in the hallway downstairs when he was living in the house. 

That night we were both sleeping in Susan's bed and, once again, I was startled awake by a feeling of being bonked on the head.  I woke up Steve to tell him about it.  I told Steve that the feeling I had was that something was trying to tell me that I did not belong in that bed.  I did know that the bed frame and its beautiful headboard had been in his mother's family for generations.  In fact, Steve's grandfather Cam was born in that bed and it's possible that it was made by another ancestor of Susan's.

Steve's sister arrived the next day and we ended up talking about our experiences in the house.  It was the first time that Steve and his sister knew that they both felt that creepy feeling in the same place in their childhood home.  It made for an interesting conversation.  We slept there several more nights and I did not experience anything again while sleeping in the bed.  If I indeed experience something paranormal during our stay, my thoughts are that it may have been an ancestor of Susan's that did not know me and was trying to tell me that I did not belong in the family bed.  The entity I felt did not feel creepy, just miffed.

After Susan died Steve brought some of her things to our home here in Houston, including the beautiful bed/headboard.  I am really drawn to its beauty.  Unfortunately, it is sized for a double bed which we don't currently have in our home.  So it is in our garage for the time being.  Every week I go out to the garage to look at those things of Susan's that have not made it into the house, including this headboard.  If we do ever bring it into the house, though, I will be smudging it with my white sage!

Haunted Headboard?
Although I have at times felt the presence of Susan with me since her death last September, I do not claim to see or hear spirits.  I have long been interested in learning more, however, and I believe that all of us have the capacity to access other "planes of existence".  If only our brains weren't so cluttered by wordly clamors and we could exercise accessing the parts of our brain and intuition that many of us do not access.  I spent many of my teen years and early twenties busy with life and partying.  And the last 16 years I've moved around a lot and been busy building a sober, authentic life.  I suspect it was the suicide of my mentally tortured father and the sudden death of my dear mother-in-law that rocketed me into exploring this "otherworldly dimension". 

My paranormal interests have taken me on an expansive and creative journey which has been emotionally challenging at times.  Still, it seems to be a part of my process at this time and I am grateful for those who have shared their own experiences through books, TV, and the Internet.  I will be sharing pieces of my journey in future blogs.

Have you had any experiences that seem unexplainable?  I'd love to hear about it.

About the Author

Jennifer fancies herself a study in dichotomies and is sometimes quite surprised that no one has actually requested the honor of researching her life.  She loves to talk about herself but quite dislikes deciding what to write in a bio.

Married to her best friend and living in Cookie-Cutter Land, TX with their four sweet kitties, Jennifer started this blog as a means of chronicling her journey through a dark time in her life.  Feeling like she is coming back out into the sunlight, Jennifer doesn't know where blogging will lead, if anywhere, but is trusting in the desire she has to do so.


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