writing

A Love Letter To Atreyu

I woke up in 2022 and made a decision that “if one of my favorite bands visits the area I will see them.” I am totally ready to rock and excited to say I will be seeing Atreyu this June at the Fillmore in Detroit. Did I say VIP tickets in June, hey!

If I were to quantify all things I love and feel about music, Atreyu tops the list of my favorite bands of all time. Atreyu and I go way back, to 2006, and like a normal relationship we’ve had our ups and downs, but the true love began back then. I was introduced to the band because a cute guy at the gym wore an Atreyu t-shirt. I did my research and found songs like “Bleeding Mascara” and “Ex’s and Oh’s” to be extremely tantalizing to my rock soul. I would add these songs and more by Atreyu to my gym playlist.

I used LimeWire to get my first songs but fell in love with the hard melodies extremely fast, so it was an easy purchase when their next album came out in 2007: Lead Sails and a Paper Anchor. This was the album I would listen to over and over. I found meaning in all the songs. It made sense to me on another level and opened my mind to a lot of other rock music like Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet for my Valentine.

My friend and I seriously jammed out to “When Two Become One” on a road trip driving home from college on M-20 in my red Ford Focus. I would play a lot of songs from that album for other people, but nothing tops the first day I met my (now) husband in 2008, because I burned him a copy of that album. We started talking about Atreyu because “Ex’s and Oh’s” appeared on Madden NFL 2007, and since I just saw them at the Taste of Chaos tour, I was super chatty, “Oh my goodness, I love Atreyu let me burn you their latest CD…”

I waited to be in the front row for Atreyu’s set at Rock on the Range 2009 (day 1) and it was the best fangirl chance to be close but it was a horrible place to enjoy the show. I was getting kicked in the head by crowd surfers and I just didn’t realize how the surfers got pushed to the front every time!? I left my prime position and stood out of the surf zone to enjoy the live music. They were singing all my favorite songs!

If I remember correctly, it was hard to wait for the 2009 album Congregation of the Damned to come out on iTunes. When it was released, I rocked out hard to this album, and as I read on Wikipedia today “they found their heavy roots again with this album,” I agree. Do I need to say “Bleeding is a Luxury” please be still my heart with “Coffin Nails.”


If you visit my YouTube Atreyu Playlist today, half of the songs are from that album.


I saw Atreyu perform live next on the Silver Star stage at Rockstar Mayhem 2010 and it was great to hear all my favorite songs! They seriously have the melodies to rock my soul over and over again. As a love song comes to an end, so did our relationship. It looks like a hiatus happened with the band.

When their next album Long Live came out in 2015, I was a new mother and not checking out new rock albums like I was learning to live in a bubble of motherhood.

In Our Wake came out in 2018, when I was very pregnant with our second child. I was listening to throwback r&b jams like I was on a break from rock & roll.

Baptize came out in 2021. I started listening to it recently because “Warrior” featuring Travis Barker is my six year old daughter’s favorite song. I have read that there are new lead vocals with this album, but everything is still Atreyu and stays true to their growth as a band.

As I listen more to the albums, I find myself pulling out an air guitar and banging my head to the beat when it hits me just right. The words have more meaning to me today and the melodies of the instruments come together to create a feeling that can only be described as joy, pain, love and anger all at the same time, and I would do anything “No Matter What” to see them perform again.

Atreyu is truly a band that has the ability to take me on a journey with each song. They have tested time with me, and I feel my heart pumping rock and roll through my veins because I’m listening to Atreyu again. Thank you, and I look forward to seeing you soon in Detroit Rock City!


writing

Highly Sensitive Person

I am a highly sensitive person (HSP) and I discovered this about myself, as an adult, even though this is who I have been my whole life: someone with high sensitivity.

Could it be as simple as: “because the sky is blue it makes me cry?” Yes, I agree that it can be relatable to the psychedelic tune the Beatles sang long ago, Because…it’s as simple as is sounds.

An HSP has their five senses elevated to a level that includes heightened emotions. They usually have an adverse childhood experience (ACE) that is a constant struggle, even in adulthood. Crying happens regularly, so does depression, and addiction is a very common coping mechanism.

Just to name a few personality traits, but that is the reality for me to admit that I am an HSP.

No, I am not too sensitive.
No, I am not shy.
This is a normal trait to have!
My sensitivity is an asset,
and I need to continue treating it this way.

To name something that helps me cope with high sensitivity is being creative. I have always been comfortable writing stories and opening my mind to an imaginary land that is built inside my own head. This is the place where I have created the best imaginary friends, as a child, and as an adult I use their names in my fiction stories.

Another thing that helps take the edge off my sensitivity is physical activity. I self-admit to being a muscle head in college and I honestly took too many gym classes they all didn’t count towards my Health & Fitness Bachelor’s degree (smh). Playing sports and increasing my heart rate has always been something I’m craving as an HSP.

Reading The Highly Sensitive Person’s Guide to Dealing with Toxic People by Shahida Arabi, MD is what truly opened my mind for accepting myself as I am. I would recommend it to anyone who has ever struggled to understand, handle, and survive toxic people.

Being alive is something to be thankful for. I have the emotional strength of someone much older than 36 only because I embraced my high sensitivity at a young age. I feel and believe the best years are still yet to come.


The Highly Sensitive Person’s Guide to Dealing with Toxic People by Shahida Arabi, MD


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writing

There’s No Place Like Home and It’s Not Kansas

My family and I have weathered the storm of the pandemic, and it has been an ever-changing tornado of hard decisions over and over again. Not just for my family though, many families have endured some things that may not have been fathomable pre-pandemic. 

I never thought my family would need to move to Kansas for my husband’s job, especially after he’s been successfully working from home since the beginning of the pandemic. The decision to close the company’s remote location in Michigan is a heartbreaker because honestly: who is going to leave Pure Michigan for Tornado Alley?

My husband may not toot his own horn often enough, so I will take the opportunity to toot this tinman’s horn because he is the hardest working man I know. If we go back to his entry-level position ten years ago he was data entry. “Putting on my headphones and punching numbers,” is what he says he misses from those early days because he has a much more difficult job today. He has worked his way to a supervisor position and has successfully been in that position for the last 6-7 years.

Prior to his promotion to supervisor, he made the personal decision not to complete his college education but to pursue his career with this company. He felt lucky to have his foot in the door with an innovative company. “You may not be able to advance your career as quickly anywhere else,” I always added-in as his working wife.

Oh yeah, I worked at the same company back then. We worked in completely different departments, but I understood the basics of his job and watched the Data Integrity Group or “DIG” grow within the company. 

We went from “single” to “married” and invited a handful of coworkers to our wedding. We were a part of the community within this company. When we moved from being renters to homeowners in 2014, I was no longer with the company, but we still made sure our home was close to the office. 

It was his time to follow the yellow brick road with his career.

There have been a lot of changes within the company since 2014, including an acquisition of the original company, which turned into an opportunity that was somewhere over the rainbow.  

My husband’s hard working skills and ability to see the data processes he was doing on a larger scale is why I believe he became the one who trained and over-saw the data team. His people leader skills were shining but you could still find him at his desk listening to his headphones and crunching numbers. He was in the data files and processing data alongside his team, and self-admits to being the “fastest one.”

He has received multiple awards from the company that all sit on his desk. He has countless certificates that accolade his achievements. He also has multiple rolls of duct tape honoring him as the “fix it” person. I see this all because his office is now in our dining room, and has been since March 2020.

Since then, instead of going to the office and having in-person meetings they have been all at home and over the phone. I did not see work slow down for my husband, he was working more into the nights after meetings ended.

I remember the night we talked about moving to Kansas for his job: what it would entail and everything we would be leaving behind in MI. I was honestly optimistic because with his skill and ability, and my excitement and adventure level, we could make it happen!

However, “there’s no place like home” in Michigan. To name a few things: during the summer we travel up North for weekend vacations and the majority of our immediate family live in MI. The more we thought about Kansas, the less we saw an Emerald City and the more we saw the importance of living close to family.

Months and months have gone by since that night, and his team has since been transitioned or severanced; my husband is next. It is officially coming to an end. His job will be discontinued soon with a severance. 

I continue to watch him do his job, in our dining room, and as difficult as it has gotten for him…he will still clock in until that final day. But, I’m ready for him to turn the light out one final time and move on to weather the next storm in his tin suit—duct tape in hand.


writing

Sip Happens

My name is Jenni, and my alcoholic mother plays a role in how I drink alcohol.

I wish that I could just have nights that are chalked-up as drunken mistakes. But because my mom drank and abused alcohol everyday for the majority of her adult life, I am not able to have “drunken mistakes.” They are considered a problem and when I drink too much, I am faced with the harsh reality of people telling me I “have a problem.”

Even though my mom has been sober for 10 years, I can’t help but think, “not fair, mom. You were the one with a drinking problem, and I watched you do it in your darkest years.” I remember promising myself, “I won’t be like that.”

So I’m not. But there’s an occasional time when I have a drink, that turns to five, that turns to a body shot and dancing on the coyote ugly bar…where I wake up the next day with a harsh hangover: 1) I can’t do that ever again  2) I need to talk with those closest to me, those that I disappointed in my drunken path of destruction from the night before, and 3) I make a decision to take a break from drinking.

Sip Happens.

I can count my drunken mistakes on one hand, maybe two if you include my college years. I’ve been to AA meetings, taken addiction courses, read Adult Children of Alcoholics, and I still feel like my drunken mistakes aren’t over. Another one will happen, so is that the problem? I say, sip happens.

A glass of wine after the kids are asleep is enjoyable. A few drinks out at date night dinner is a treat. I look forward to sipping on something for those special social occasions; and society glorifies drinking with happy hours and wine tastings – because sip happens everywhere.

Unfortunately, as an adult child of an alcoholic (ACOA) drinking alcohol can’t just be drinking alcohol for me. It comes with all this baggage. Sipping alcohol affects my social situations, personal interactions, family moments, marriage…it feels like it touches every part of my life.

I read the laundry list, which is 14 traits of an ACOA, and one of the traits that I can strongly identify with is: we became addicted to excitement. As an ACOA, I seek excitement and as an adult, alcohol is consumed in a lot of those exciting life moments. I can say the problem is when I seek excitement, sip happens.

Sip Happened – now it’s time for a break.

After my night of overindulgent-drinking at coyote ugly, I felt ready to drink again within weeks to help take the edge off at home. Mainly because it was 2020 and coronavirus just hit Michigan with a quarantine. I felt ready to day-drink like the rest of my neighbors. But, I made a promise to myself for the season of lent to not consume alcohol and I stuck to my original goal and timeline with little trouble. Based on my experiences, I would recommend the following guidelines for taking a break from alcohol:

  1. Set a goal – with a date – and stick to it!
  2. Keep your support system updated*
  3. Seek literature or meetings through AA or ACOA
  4. In social situations, prepare to drink non-alcoholic beverages that are enjoyable!
  5. Keep a diary – your journey while taking a break is important and a time for reflection.
  6. Give yourself a lot of credit! When your goal is met, what will your reward be?

*YOU need to be the one to call your closest friends and/or your immediate family to tell them how you are doing. Take responsibility and hold yourself accountable for those open communication lines. This is hard to do alone – so I encourage being the leader of that support system for yourself.

My drunken mistakes have turned into a string of lessons learned throughout the years, and the time-off I decide to take from drinking gives me ample time to think about why I do it and why I look forward to sipping again one day.


Note from my Mom: I take full responsibility for my actions and I’m sad that I put you kids through those years.  I wish I could go back, but I can’t…

my response: I wouldn’t be who I am today without you, Mom. I love you.


writing

SAHM who blogs | Complete Collection

Here is a complete collection of blog posts from SAHM who blogs, archived back to 2016. As I’ve grown, the things I’m passionate about have come and gone but writing has always been there. Taking the time to write was something I neglected before I became a mom, but as I was trying to find my path as a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) the opportunity to blog about things became very appealing. The more mommy blogs that I read, the more inspiration I got to write my own.

My main goal was to inspire moms, of any age, with recipes, crafts and mommy memories from my own stay at home motherhood. I remember putting a lot of time and thought into my blog, and I spent countless hours educating myself and maintaining the website and all the social media accounts…the least I can do, today, is archive it in a way that can be remembered for many more years, and I would love to share it with you!

Please click here to–>DOWNLOAD SAHM WHO BLOGS<–


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