The Day

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This is it.      The Day.    May 30th…

A day that was once anticipated and longed for. A day that was celebrated. Now May 30th is a day for remembering.

May 30th 1992 I married my best friend. Today would have been our 25th anniversary.

On May 30th I married a guy I was so in love with. When we were together everyone and everything around us seemed to disappear. It was just us. He would make me laugh so hard. His grandmother would yell at me from the other room, “stop that giggling!” I tried but Donald was just too dang funny. We were rarely apart. Even when he was at work I would go hang out with him.

I can’t remember every May 30th, but I do know we always did something special. AND it ALWAYS involved food! Eating at some nice hole-in-the wall restaurant or at one of our usual favorites. Donald was the guru of the best places to eat. He even made up a cheer for the egg rolls at China Garden. If you’ve ever eaten these egg rolls you would understand. Food was always at the center of our celebrations. Another fun fact about Donald was he never could wait to give me gifts. He was like a little kid that way. One time we went to San Antonio for the weekend. In the car before we ever left Houston, he was handing me the gift he bought me. He loved giving gifts! He also loved leaving me little drawings and love notes everywhere. He even drew me a cartoon on the toilet paper in the bathroom of him sitting on the potty with the caption “always thinking of you”.

May 30th 2017 will be my 3rd May 30th without Donald.

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 3 years since I last saw him. Since I felt those big bear hugs. Those hugs made me feel safe. Those hugs made me feel as if we were one person. I so miss those hugs.

This May 30th . . . This is a weird one. I’ve been so emotional this month. One minute I’m laughing and cracking jokes. Then for no reason I burst into tears. What the heck?! I was having the house painted and we were literally talking about getting doorstops at Home Depot and there they came. Tears pouring out of my eyes. I’ve truly lost it! I started apologizing to my friend/painter “I’m sorry I don’t know where that came from.”

But I do…

I’m in this what I call “transformation phase”. I’m saying goodbye to my old self and hello to this new me! I finally feel like I’m becoming whole again. In fact I feel much stronger that I ever was. When you go to hell and back it has to strengthen you, right?  The path I thought I would be on today has changed. The plans Donald and I made are gone with him. The tears are me letting go and saying goodbye (for now). I’m embracing this new journey. I’ve decided to say yes to everything!! (as long as it’s legal and doesn’t go against my beliefs). I want to live a good and fulfilling life, even if I do this alone or drag some unsuspecting friends along for the ride. I’m still on this planet so God must need me for some purpose.

May 30th will always be a special day filled with wonderful memories. I’m claiming this day not to morn the loss, but to celebrate all the amazing years we had together. Years, that now looking back, were such a gift. I urge you to look around at the people in your life right now and cherish each moment you have with them. Everyday is a gift.

My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not stumbled. Psalm 17:5

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for putting such a great man in my life. Say hello to him for me. Help me to embrace this new path I’m on. I pray that you will stay my main focus. Help me to live this new life of yes and take all my fears away. Help me to see the joy in each moment and remind me to appreciate the time I have with those around me. Father help heal the marriages that seem so fragile in todays world. Let them see their partners through your eyes. Put a hedge of protection around them from the subtle ways satan tries to break these marriages apart. Heal broken hearts and make their love stronger. All things are possible with you! In your son’s holy name Jesus! Amen


Almost

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As I was walking today my head was swirling with so many questions. Mostly “what the heck am I supposed to be doing with my life?!” Every thing I thought I was going to do and where I would be are no longer an option. Losing Donald has changed everything. Plans we made together are no longer something I want to do especially alone. I think another reason this is weighing so heavy on my mind is I’m about to become an empty nester. My son will be moving soon and my daughter will be graduating and going away to school. Even the dogs are in the 100’s in people years. I’m facing a chapter I never imagined, doing this thing called life … with just me.

Who am I? I have ALMOST been so many things.  I’ve tried inventing who I was so many times but always fell short of the finish line so many times.  I would just get stuck. I could almost touch the success but fear would freeze me in my tracks.

I bought canvas and paint. I envisioned paintings in my head. But never touched a single canvas. The brushes remained as new as the day I bought them.

I am almost an artist.

I talked Donald into buying me the top of the line camera with HD video capabilities. There are pictures that are yet to be taken. Video stories dance around in my thoughts but that is where they remain… while the camera gathers dust.

I am almost a photographer.

My house tells the story of my almost life. Piles of projects lay around that were never completed. Closets and cabinets conceal items that haven’t even been thought of for years. I will start to clean out a closet and always seems to run out of gas for the last few items (it would literally take 30 minutes to finish) but yet I will pile those things up against the wall to sit for months.

I am almost organized.

I believe God is revealing to me what this fear is. What has me stuck. I know this seems so strange but I think it’s the fear of success. Of actually becoming what I set out to be. When I was in my twenties I went on a cruise and back then they had skeet shooting off the side of the ship. This is where you shoot a shotgun at flying discs and try to hit them. They gave us 8 tries to hit these discs.  I stood ready to shoot and I yelled pull and bam! I nailed the first disc. Bam! Same thing with the second disc. Bam! Bam! Hit the 3rd and 4th disc. It was as this moment I became very aware that a crowd had gathered to watch me. This overwhelming feeling of dread came over me and I didn’t want to be the center of attention. Instead of just enjoying the success I just shut down. I missed the last 4 shots. I listened to “that voice”!

I believe Satan is constantly whispering into us that we are not good enough. He whispers just subtle enough to think this is our own voice. He wants to shut us down so we can’t be the success God created us for. We have to be extra careful he doesn’t use us to shut others down either. We need to be an encourager to others. I would hate to think I had a part in shutting someone down before they became the person God created them to be.

All my life I have been “Almost Jenni”. I’ve listened to the voices from others and in my own head telling me I’m not good enough. But now I will focus only on one voice. God’s voice. I will be the Jenni he created me to be. I will stop running in the opposite direction he is asking me to go. In fact writing this is a huge victory for me. God is asking me to write and I keep running from it. Each word that spills out onto this page is a step to becoming ME!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Heavenly Father-    Thank you for making me to be Jenni! Help me to lay my fears at your feet and just run to you. Let the only voice I hear be yours. Help me to obey what you are asking of me. Help me to bury this almost life and really live!! Thank you for staying with me always even when I run away. You are a good and loving Father! Help those who are stuck in fear to come to you and find the strength to lay their fears at your feet!  In Jesus name Amen!


Throwing Stones

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Imagine being caught in your biggest sin, then dragged out in public and put on display for everyone to judge you. This happened in the bible. A woman was caught committing adultery and forced to stand before crowds of people listening to Jesus teach.

At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.

If we look at ourselves like these stone-throwers did, we will realize we are all sinners.

Today we have more painful stones. We throw written words in the form of a tweet or a text. We throw from the hidden places like our phones or computers. We can throw these stones and never see the pain of those they hit. This makes it so much easier to throw them. We have become a society of making our conclusions about a situation in seconds and then throw out there our first thoughts. We don’t take time to get to know the person or the situation first. What must be going on in their life? Maybe this person’s parents are going through a bitter divorce and they have put up a wall to mask their real feelings. The stone you throw at them might be the very thing that pushes them over the edge.

When someone hurts my kids, I feel their pain ten times more than they do. My first reaction is to go find this stone-thrower and give them a piece of my mind. How dare you say those things to my child! Can you not see how they have been hurting since they lost their dad? Why do you feel the need to rub salt into the deep wounds, which have finally started to heal? It’s such a helpless feeling especially when you see the tears and there is nothing you can do to make it better.

This must be what Jesus felt when this woman was presented to him. Someone was trying to hurt one of God’s children. He must have felt her fear and shame at that moment. I just love that the way he helped her was by showing the stone-throwers their own sin. Then Jesus did the greatest thing – he forgave her.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

 The very reason God sent Jesus here was to pay the price for our sins. What did I do to deserve that?! ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! God loves us so much that he gave his own son as a sacrifice so that if I just believe in him I will be saved. If only we could love like that. If we could love everyone and see them the way God sees them-this world would be a different place.

Heavenly Father- Especially in these times where so many people are divided by their politics and beliefs, please help me to love like you do. Help me to not judge but look past the walls and see the person. Help me to love my enemies and forgive them. Help me to pray for those who have hurt me or hurt the ones that I love. This kind of love and forgiveness can only come from you. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and help this sinner! Thank you for all you do and all you are! In your son’s name Jesus – Amen.


Grief is a sneaky little booger

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I am great today! Or so I thought. I was going along fine, when a conversation triggered all these emotions I didn’t even realize were just hanging out. They were waiting for the perfect moment to pop up. I spent the better part of the day finally attacking the piles that have accumulated around the perimeter of my room. Since the death of my husband every room in my house was getting these mystery piles. (Clearly I was in the beginning stages of hoarding) I tackled the front room, kitchen and living room now it was time for my bedroom. I just about finished almost all of it. What was left was Donald’s t-shirts. I took them out of the closet a year ago and folded them but yet still they remain. I think getting rid of Donald’s things just seems to finalize that he’s really gone. I asked my daughter to come in and help me sort them. The plan is to make quilts out of them for the family.

I watched my daughter sort the t-shirts. Each shirt held a special memory for her. She explained why she wanted the shirts she was picking and then why her brother would want the ones she put aside for him. This memory lane walk started a long conversation. Somehow we got on the subject of the week right after Donald died. She told me she just felt so alone. She recalled standing at the end of my bed watching me cry while my friends were comforting me. She wanted to help me but didn’t know what to do. She shared how she just started saying the most inappropriate things out of a desperate need to connect to me. I don’t even remember that. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose your father at the age of 14. How she must have felt when the one person she needed to comfort her was having to be taken care of herself. She continued with the story explaining how her friends that should have been there to comfort her were almost making a party of the situation.

That’s when the emotion hit me. She must have felt so alone in those early days of losing her daddy. Her friends were too young to understand what she needed. Her brother was in the same shape I was in. My heart was breaking at that moment. I wanted to break down and cry so bad but I didn’t want to upset my daughter. After a few big gulps I managed to stop the inevitable tears. I just had to get through a few more minutes. She finally left. As soon as the door shut behind her – I had my cry. This cry of grief was not for the loss of a husband. I was grieving the loss of a moment. A moment I wished I could have been there for her. I felt so much guilt. Logically I know that I shouldn’t feel that way…I just lost my husband for goodness sake. All you moms know we are in constant guilt for not being “all” the mom we should be.

It’s ok to grieve lost moments. We all go there thinking about our past. The key is to give yourself permission to grieve over it. Then lay it down at the foot of the cross. Most importantly we need to forgive ourselves. Instead of leaving this mess piled on the floor where we have to look at it everyday. Where we have to relive the same guilt and the same loss over and over. This is where WE choose to clean it up and give it away. Live in this moment. Live in this day. My plan is to not focus on what was but to focus and enjoy the now.

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalms 118:24

Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the Godly to slip and fall. Psalms 55:22


Before the Rooster Crows

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This is part of the wall that separated me from the rooster. 

Have u ever been around a rooster when it’s crowing? It’s ear-piercingly loud and the most annoying sound. When I was in Africa we slept in a house that had the windows open at night. It never failed the rooster just over the wall would start crowing at 4 am! BEFORE the sun came up! It wasn’t just one crow to let us know that we should be up. It was crow after crow. I told our host not to be surprised if said rooster disappeared in the middle of the night. Hashtag this rooster must die!

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter–this very night, before the rooster crows,  you will deny three times that you even know me.” Matthew 26:34 NIV

I have to think that Jesus chose a rooster crowing because he knew it would get Peter’s attention. Right on cue when Peter denied he knew Jesus for a third time a rooster crowed. Imagine what went through Peter’s mind when he realized he did what he said he would never do. 

What are you doing to deny Jesus. What choices are you making that cause you to push your relationship with Jesus aside. Are you at a party and seeing everyone around you laughing loud and downing drinks which seem to make them louder and more fun! Then the conversation in your head starts. I know this isn’t the life I should be living but I just want to be a part of what everyone else is doing. I’m too scared to show anyone that I want to live a life in Christ cause I just want to fit in so bad. Have you ever thought that they are having the same conversations in their heads. Those loud laughs are the perfect cover up for guilt and shame. 

After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.  John 21:15

Even though Peter denied knowing Jesus, he was given a second chance to live a life with Christ. He has given us all that chance. When Christ died on the cross he took all of our sins and washed them clean.

Don’t wait for the rooster to crow. Come to Jesus and you will have the fullest life in him. I guarantee all those loud laughers will soon be looking at you and want what you have.


Sledge Hammer Therapy

I have become the master of not letting anyone see my true feelings. I even stopped sharing how I am with my closest friends. I think I just plain feel bad for always venting about my life. Sometimes I will go around the table and will ask an endless stream of questions to everyone else just to avoid the subject of me. Inevitably one of them will call me out on it. “So Jenni, what’s going on with you”? Cue the tears.

I am learning it’s not healthy to stuff my feelings away. My body feels it. I think my anger and sadness show up as pains all over my body. Being in a constant on edge state. With all my muscles tensed all the time, pain shows up in the craziest ways. My back is killing me. I get massive headaches. My eyesight is done at the end of the day. All because I won’t let go of these feelings inside of me.

Have you ever noticed how everyone on the design shows always seem so happy? I think I figured out the secret. Sledge hammer therapy! They start out with a mess of a house. Then they get to take a sledgehammer to it. What emerges is a new beautiful space. I am the mess before the sledgehammer. It’s time I start knocking down these walls and throw out the junk I’ve been clinging to. It’s time to build something new.

So why not start with an actual sledgehammer? This is what I did. I had these shelves that I have been wanting to tear down for a long time. I had a sledgehammer. It was go time! I have to say it was awesome! With every blow and crack of the wood I could feel my body let go. I can’t remember everything I said but with every swing I let go of a piece of my hurts. Crack! Why did you have to die?! Crack! Why do I have to be alone?! Boom! why…Why…WHY?! It seemed like seconds went by and I had all the shelves knocked off the wall. As the broken pieces headed out the door so did some of my brokenness.

Clean house! This is the stage I am at now. I need to stop shoving my mess into the hidden spaces and deal with it head on. Then take it out with the trash. I know I will be whole again. I’m looking forward to who this new me will be. I can’t wait for the final reveal. Until then, I will Purposely keep knocking away at the walls I’ve built around me. I can see them for what they are now. The walls aren’t a protection. They are a prison of my own making. I want to be free! (this would be a good time to play I want to break free by Queen)

I have loved you with an everlasting love;

I have drawn you with an unfailing kindness

I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt

Again you will take up you tambourine

And dance in the street with the joyful

Jeremiah 31:3-4


I Should Grieve

IMG_9148So I finally got the courage to join a grief group. It has taken me two years to join a support group because I just didn’t want to admit that Donald was gone. I just put that reality on hold and avoided grieving altogether. I have put so much of my energy into surviving. My therapist calls it my Should List. I should run the business. I should put a brave face on for my kids. I should never let anyone see that I’m hurting. And I should definitely not let them know that I’m two steps away from being that person you see on the news running down the freeway naked… big inhale!

I have been putting up a front every time I’m asked “how are you?” “Oh…I’m ok.” I truly believed it myself. By going to this grief group the front came crashing down, and all of a sudden I could see the real feelings. I’m sad. I’m very angry. This anger beast inside of me has been growing, and he’s ready to pounce. I yelled at the maps lady on my phone as if she was a real person. She got me lost and kept taking me to these roads that were closed. Don’t think I didn’t throw some colorful words that would make a sailor blush in her direction.

I hate that it has been two years and I still don’t feel normal. I figured after two years I’d magically be a stay-at-home mom and not worry about bills. I would start dating again and meet the perfect guy. I would not have this mushy brain. And the kids and I would feel joy again. The reality of it all is that I’m not normal! I still have a business to run. Not only do I have bills, but stuff keeps happening to make new bills. Like my daughter rear-ending someone. Like needing a new AC system for my house. It’s this stuff that is pushing me over the edge. As for the dating thing, I’m clearly not ready. A guy wrote me a very sweet message on Facebook and it freaked me out! I haven’t been on first date since I was 18. That’s when I met my husband. I’m 46 now …that’s a long time y’all!

Let’s talk about this mushy brain thing too. I believe we compartmentalize our life when we go through a big loss. It is a way to protect us from feeling everything at once. I compare it to driving on a foggy road. You can only see the little bit in front of you. I think if you could see everything around you clearly you would realize you are driving on the edge of a ginormous cliff. A cliff with no guardrails and trucks are driving at you trying to knock you over the edge.

I am now in that place where the fog is slowly lifting and I’m seeing what’s really around me. It’s scary as hell! This place is about depression, anger, resentment and just plain sadness. There is very little joy in there. I can no longer hide behind my smile. Most days now when I’m asked how I’m doing, I feel the lump in my throat and I can no longer hide my true feelings. I snap at the littlest things that aren’t even the source of my real anger. My teen who has perfected the misery game is even telling me to chill out. I DON’T WANT TO CHILL OUT! I want to yell and scream! I want to break things!

My should list needs to change. Time to put the oxygen mask on myself. I should take a break and care for myself. I should show my kids how much I love them and stop hiding in my room. I should just be real and let people know that losing someone hurts and it’s ok to be sad. And the biggest should of all, I should allow myself to grieve.

20Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. John 16:20-22 NIV


The Juice Babes

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So many times I let other people’s success determine my own. I compared my talents or abilities to theirs. I could never do that so why even try. I let my low self esteem choose my path.

I’m in this group message called…brace yourself… “Juice Babes”. I think it should have been named “Let’s go to hell for fun”. This group is made up of friends of mine that decided it would be wonderful to do a juice cleanse. Somehow I agreed to do this and I chose the three day cleanse. It seemed simple enough. Drink healthy cold pressed juices for three days.

The first day went fairly ok. I did everything exactly the way I was told and I was feeling pretty proud of myself.

Then day two came. It started with a major headache. I drank some water and took some Advil. Then I began to drink the first juice of the day. For some reason this one didn’t go down like yesterday. It seemed to stop halfway down and I felt super full. I finally finished the bottle, when the nausea began. I slowly sipped on cold water praying it would stop. It didn’t! I had a meeting at work and I honestly have no idea what we talked about. In my head I was saying over and over please don’t throw up, please don’t throw up. It was soon time for my next juice so I choose the one with ginger in it to settle my stomach. It seemed to help for a while. I can do this, I think. A couple hours later it was time for the beet juice. I braced myself and started sipping. This beet concoction had an overwhelming smell. It was a strange mixture of smells that didn’t seem to go together and it was not pleasant. That’s when the room began to spin. The kind of spinning after you’ve had one too many glasses of wine. I was either going to pass out or throw up. Neither of which I wanted to do at work. I went home and laid down. Three hours later I woke up and I did feel better.

Meanwhile the “Juice Babes” are continuing the texts of how great they are doing. Even sharing bible verses of encouragement. I never knew sharing a bible verse could irritate me so much. I regrouped myself and tried to drink another juice. It was at this point I knew my body just wasn’t going to let me take one more drink of this disgusting stuff. How have these women convinced themselves this juice is good? If I could punch someone through the phone it would have happened. I did tell you they are my friends, right?

I threw in the towel! Yes, I quit and I didn’t care! I couldn’t take another minute of feeling so bad. I ate some pretzels and made myself a big cup of coffee. End of day two.

Day three I was not going to sabotage myself. I ate a very healthy lunch. Chicken salad with no dressing and fresh fruit. I can do my own thing. (pats self on back) Then why was I getting so upset by all the texts still coming in from the “Juice Babes”. Each sharing their plans. One was going to extend their juicing one more day. That one hurt. How they were meeting up to go for a walk. I could’t go. With each text I was feeling more and more defeated. I finally confessed to the group I quit. As expected they were very supportive, but I still felt bad about myself. Day three left me very defeated.

Day four starts off on the wrong side of the bed… I woke up to ding, ding! Here come the texts again. The “Juice Babes” were at it early today. Sharing how many pounds they lost. Really?! I wanted to pull the covers over my head and not face the day. It’s here where I started to get that knock on my heart. The one where Jesus is saying, “Hello I’m still here!” “Why are you letting Satan tell you, you are less than”?

I love when I get knocked on the head for not trusting God. Who cares that I didn’t make it as far as everyone else in the group. I did the best I could and that’s all that matters. So today I choose the path of victory! On this path I keep moving forward. On this path I keep my eyes on Jesus and push aside the pull from Satan. On this path I chose to hear the voice that builds me up. On this path I put on my shoes and head out the door!

I ran further than I have in a long time and for that I am grateful!

Psalm 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore. ESV

Heavenly father, thank you for loving us! Please help those who are stuck in the lies that say they are not good enough. Help us to see the path that you have made for us. Help us to take your hand and trust each day to you. Please guide us and give us courage to do the things that seem hard. In your holy name Jesus, Amen.


The Rusty Bits

FullSizeRenderAfter I lost Donald, people told me how hard all the firsts were going to be. The first Christmas, the first anniversary and the first birthday, all were tough, but for me it’s the seconds. All the seconds are making me so aware of how unaware I was just a year ago. Maybe this was God’s way of protecting me through the loss of my husband. He knew I couldn’t handle the reality all at once. This time of seconds is my awakening. The fog is lifting and reality is smack in my face.

With eyes open I’m noticing how everything is falling apart. Even the fence on the side of my house has rusted through and is held up only by the vines that have grown around it. Each car has some major issue with it. And the termites have decided to move in and make themselves at home. Part of me wants to sell it all and run away. The tent life wouldn’t be that bad, right?  If I don’t own anything then I don’t have to be responsible for it.

Unfortunately I’ve been checked out of my kids lives as well. While on autopilot, they have been experiencing their own rusty bits. They have been parenting themselves. I took a sabbatical I wasn’t aware I was on.  My first and foremost maintenance is with my kids. Time for tough love! I can already tell that they have been craving for my return. Even though it is painful for them to have a reality check, reality is what they want.

“Hello, I’m your mother and I’m back”!

I’ve had to look at myself as well. What have I been neglecting when it comes to me? I just shared with my Young Life friends how in high school I became an expert of putting on a fake facade. No-one could see the real me. The broken dirty girl full of shame. I did the same thing this last year and a half. I couldn’t dare let anyone see how sad I was. How I couldn’t even remember to breath sometimes, let alone notice my world falling apart around me. I was clinging on by my fingernails. All hidden behind a sweet smile. A smile meant to deflect any attention directed at my situation. The famous “I’m fine” we all throw out there so no-one can see the pain.

I thank God for the constant reminder through it all to “Come to me”. It was this safe place that held me together when I couldn’t do it myself. I still cling to this verse when my world seems to crumble around me.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Heavenly Father – Thank you for being a place of rest and restoration. I pray for others going through a great loss. I pray they will run to your loving arms and find this rest you offer. Lord give them courage to seek you out and lay their burdens at your feet. In your holy name Jesus, Amen.


My Testimony Part 2

DONALD & JENNI

1992 brought a May wedding. We shared dreams and made plans. We had long conversations solving all the worlds’ problems. After long days working for others, Donald and I would spend late nights building our own business. We started Leonetti Graphics, focusing on logos and brochures, until the day Donald was asked if he could make a t-shirt. He lied of course, and said yes. The rest is history. Now most of our business is screen printing and embroidery.

Somewhere in the midst of it all, I found Jesus. A friend took me to see a woman who shared with me that Jesus didn’t see me as the dirty, abused little girl, but instead a beautiful bride dressed in pure white. This changed my life. I didn’t realize how much I carried my past with me. Being free of the shame and guilt allowed my relationship with Christ to flourish. How little I would realize that this moment would help me through the darkest time of my life.

1996 brought a son, Matthew, and what began an 18 year adventure of being a stay at home mom. I watched from the sidelines as Donald grew our business more and more. 2000 brought the sweetest Valentine, Lauren.

The next 14 years focused on the kids and all their activities. We couldn’t get enough baseball, dance, golf and cheer. We found such joy in our kids.

We had a great marriage full of valleys and peaks. The peaks outnumbered the valleys. I’m grateful for all these moments spent with Donald.

July 17, 2014 was the day to forever change my life. Donald headed to work and never came back. I will never forget that fateful knock on the door where I found a policeman standing there with the news that my husband was murdered. With one fateful shot, a 22-year marriage was over. I became a window, single mom, and in charge of our company.

This is where my new story begins …