Tuesday, July 12, 2016

New Website, New Author Page


I'm in the midst of dissolving this blog and taking on some new projects. Please come check them out. :)

Website: Finding Hope and Healing - this is a site to help survivors of sexual abuse.

Author page: Wendy Jessen - this is still in development, but I'm super happy with it thus far.

Thanks for visiting and I hope you'll enjoy my new locations! Have a fabulous day. :)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

When Father's Day Isn't Always a Big Happy Day

Today is Father's Day and it brings up tons of conflicting emotions for me. On one hand, I am married to a truly great man who is not only the better than the best husband I could have asked for, but he is also a gentle and caring father who does actually worry about whether he's doing enough. He takes one-on-one time with our kids, he teaches them, he loves them.

On the other hand, my dad wasn't really any of those things. I was (am) scared of him. Teaching was delivered via yelling at me because I didn't already know the answer. We didn't bond. He avoided vacations with us. I think he worked extra hours under the guise of supporting our family, but I think he just didn't want to be with us. Though I know he loves me on some level, I don't feel it. His actions taught me I was an annoyance, he didn't like me, and that I had to earn his love and acceptance. I'm working through the pain of these realizations as an adult.

This leads to a bigger issue: my relationship with God, my Heavenly Father.

How can I understand, relate to, believe in, and desire a relationship with a Heavenly Father when I have no earthly model for it? I was reading a Time Out For Women blog post by Laurel C. Day where she said, "Fathers: Don’t underestimate the impact you have on your child’s life. For better or for worse, your relationship with your children sets a foundation for their concept of Heavenly Father. God trusts you to demonstrate what it means to be loved by Him. You have impact. You have eternal impact..."

Because of my lack of a relationship with my earthly dad, the relationship with my Father in Heaven is that much more complicated. I have to work extra hard to know the God loves me and cares about me. I have to work extra hard to really feel and believe it. It's something I struggle with and I'm not sure what to do about that other than keep trying, keep praying, keep striving.

I admire men who work to be great dads to their kids. I admire men who pray for their children and help cultivate a relationship conducive to eternity. As I see other people who have great relationships with their dads, I can't relate, which hurts on some levels and feels numb on others.

If you have a great dad who taught you, loved you, and did you best, I am so grateful that is the case. For others who, like me, don't feel that special connection with your father, I'm so sorry. Don't doubt that your Heavenly Father understands. He cares. He loves you. He's patiently helping you slowly through this trial. He is there, working through your prayers, your studies, your heart, reaching out for a relationship with you--one of love, admiration, protection, and understanding. Keep working for a relationship with Him. It will come.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Thinking Through Our Fingers: 5 Tips for Writing Tough Topics

I'm on the TTOF blog today writing about some important keys to writing about tough topics. This is something I'm passionate about; I've had many books help me through aspects of my life, as well as adding my voice on difficult subjects through writing. You can read the rest at the link below:

Thinking Through Our Fingers: 5 Tips for Writing Tough Topics: Many books deal with some pretty heavy topics. Some handle it very well, while others might not. When I say heavy topics, I’m referring to t...

Sunday, May 22, 2016

When the Darkness Lingers

Last week, I read an article that hasn't left my mind. It was about suicide. The author talked about how suicide is a constant thought, but not necessarily tied to any action. Being suicidal isn't always as black and white as people would like to categorize it.

As I read this, I completely understood what this author was saying, because I'm totally there with her.

From the time I was really little, I can remember, having thoughts that everyone would be better off if I wasn't here. I was making people's lives worse. No one would really miss me. Such thoughts hit hard, especially when I'm more emotionally unwell. When I'm down for whatever reason.

For the most part, I can talk myself out of actually attempting anything... I can distract myself with my kids, my job, friends, exercise or whatever. I just have to make myself do something. Sometimes it helps my mental well-being improve; but other times, the darkness lingers, holding me in a vice. I can't shake it for weeks at a time. Life has no luster. I'm numb. It doesn't feel like I belong here or anywhere.

I don't know exactly what causes these thoughts that scare even me. Depression? Anxiety? Events from my past (which caused Complex-PTSD)? All of the above plus more?

I used to think maybe it had to do with my spirituality. Maybe I wasn't doing enough of what I should to get rid of these thoughts and feelings. So, I diligently read my scriptures, wrote in my journal, attended church and seminary/institute, and tried to do all the things I'm *supposed* to do for me to be happy. But, that doesn't always work like normal people insist it should.

Regardless, I still strive to do most of those things. I listen to good music to bring up my mood as well as other approaches to keep myself together. I hate feeling down, so I try whatever I can to pull out of it. Sometimes it's just a day. Sometimes it's weeks.

Logically, I know suicide isn't the answer. Those thoughts and feelings aren't reality. But emotionally? Emotionally the feelings are heavy, crushing weights, threatening to snap me in half. I have a deep fear of "what-if?" What if I just snap one day and the part of me that talks me down isn't there to stop me? What if the heaviness of my thoughts and feelings finally succeeds?

I don't know why I'm putting all this out there. I guess it's maybe because it wouldn't leave my mind until I wrote it all out. Maybe it's because I share too much. Or maybe because someone else needs to know they're not alone in this.

Every day I fight the battle to push through. I'm working on myself to try to "fix" any parts of me that are broken. Little by little. Piece by piece. It's a slow and painful process, but I think I'm getting there.

If you are in this gray area with me, hang in there. Confide in someone. Shove away the lies that come to your mind. You are worth it. You are needed and loved. You make the world a better place. Please don't give up.

© Wendy 2016

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Thinking Through Our Fingers: Does your writing always comes after?

It was my turn to blog about writing....I chose this topic because I struggle to put my writing first in the midst of my busy life.

Thinking Through Our Fingers: Does your writing always comes after?: I'm a mom of six energetic kids ages 4-14. While they're at school, I write 2-3 articles per week for my part-part-time job. I also ...

Monday, March 14, 2016

You Haven't Walked a Mile in My Shoes

Do you ever look at the struggles and trials someone else is going through and think how awful their lot in life is? Or conversely, how it's not as bad as so-and-so's? Or not as bad as the person may be making it out to be?

Here's the thing: You don't and can't ever really know what another person is going through--even if you've experienced the same or similar trial.

Why? Because every person is different. We all have had a different life experience, unique feelings and emotions, and varying perspectives on situations. We are individuals who think, feel, and act in our own way, in our own time.

Recently, I had an experience with this, where someone was minimizing something I've been struggling with my whole life. I was told that my experience wasn't "as bad" as the similar situation of another person. While what I had gone through was hard, this other person's was worse because of XYZ and ABC and 123. Basically, my sorrow, pain, and healing process were somehow less significant. Less difficult. Not as big of a deal.

This left me feeling hurt. Mentally and emotionally weak compared to others since I was still struggling. And, as much as I would like to be done dealing with this problem, it's not that simple. No amount of mental fortitude can heal some things overnight, or even over years.

I guess my point is, since you truly don't really know what's going on with someone or what their different experiences in life are, you can't judge them and decide their life is far better/worse than another person's. Everyone's journey is unique. We all handle adversity and successes differently. We shouldn't judge someone's experience based on our own life.

You haven't walked a mile in my shoes, and not even close to the whole road. I may walk my miles differently than you do (or how you think I should), but at least I'm still walking.

The best route to take is to have more compassion and empathy for those around you. Try to understand how people feel in their individual circumstances. Don't make them feel worse by downplaying their situation or comparing it to someone else's. We all have strengths and weaknesses and some of us are better equipped to handle certain situations.

 Lift others, don't push them down. Love more, judge less.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Thinking Through Our Fingers: What ingredients do you need for a great first cha...

On the Thinking Through Our Fingers blog talking about great first chapters.

Read about it here: Thinking Through Our Fingers: What ingredients do you need for a great first cha...: Recently, I was in the midst of prepping for a first chapter contest for an upcoming writing conference I'm attending. Not only is this ...

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Book review: "Rhino Trouble" by Grant Olsen

"Rhino Trouble" published by Cedar Fort, Inc.
Author Grant Olsen has written a children's book titled, "Rhino Trouble."

Olsen tells the story of two brothers who live in Nepal. The boys are given the task to protect their village's crops from the rhinos.

The rhinos are tricky and manage to get past the boys, until, on the third night, the boys come up with a plan to save their crops.

This is a great book that not only teaches young children that they can solve problems, but it's also a look at the lives of the children in Nepal.

Illustrations are by Mike Carpenter, a digital artist.

Olsen wrote "Rhino Trouble" to honor the children in Nepal who really do protect their villages from rhinos during the night. Additionally, he is donating 100% of the proceeds of his book to the earthquake-ravaged Nepal, via The Umbrella Foundation, a charity that works to help and protect children and families of Nepal who have been displaced or trafficked.

You can find Olsen's book on Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.