Jeannie Bruenning Author

Goodness it’s Friday

Here’s a glimpse into moments of real life when you’re generationally living…

It’s Friday evening and Jeff is at church for the Good Friday service.  I have just returned from the grocery store with food for Sunday’s dinner. I’m watching the clock because I’ve determined that I will sit down and watch the service live. It would be lovely if it were uninterrupted, but I did mention the generational thing. 

The service has started and in the movie scene in my head – I am sitting in my favorite chair with a glass of wine listening to the piano and voice I know so well and pausing to reflect on this important day. BUT Raun, our oldest, challenged me to make April a dry month and knowing it was a good idea I said, “YES”. So I sit in my comfy chair, listening to the harmonies and readings of the service streaming into my living room without a beverage in my hand. 

A short while into it, I realize that a two year old has joined me and is circling around the coffee table in the middle of the room. At closer notice, she seems to be quietly reciting something. I smile and turn my attention back to the service. I’ve attended a lifetime of Good Friday Services and of any church service this is a dark, heavy, sad, service and the music tends to be kinda durg-y . But it’s a service that remembers the darkest, heaviest, saddest day, so I understand the durginess. 

Now the two-year-old has climbed onto the round coffee table making it difficult to ignore her. She is still reciting something. She scoots her bottom to the edge, and carefully slides off landing on the floor and flops a round a little. 

Scripture is being read on the TV screen that leads into responsive reading about the arrest of Jesus. The two year old pops up from her floor flopping and begins circling the table again. There’s a lovely soprano singing a beautifully haunting song as candles are being sniffed and the two year old climbs back up on the round table, scoots on the edge, slides off, lands on the floor and I finally am able to hear what she has been reciting, “Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.”

“Are you being Humpty Dumpty?” I asked. 

“Yes”, she said proudly. “I can show you how to do it!” She offers with great excitement. 

“Well, I’m listening to Hoppy…”

“But you can do it…”

“I know I can do it, but if I fell off the table it would be a big fall.”

And now the final candle is snuffed, darkness fills the screen and the harmonies of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” drifts out of the speakers and the little one climbs back up on the wall for her final fall.

Crosses, candles, Jesus, Humpty, tables, music, it blends together on this holy night and in a strange way feels as if it was destined to be this way.

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The wisdom of a two-year-old

Living with a two-year-old is something you take for granted in your twenties and thirties. Having a two-year-old around in your late fifties brings new joys. 

Amelia was six months old when we moved on the hill. It was no surprise when one of her first words was, “Hi!” With six adults living here, there wasn’t room she entered without someone greeting her with “Hi Amelia!”

Amelia turned two in September. She already had a mouth full of teeth and a full vocabulary. Five word sentences, understanding concepts that are typically reserved for four-year-olds, counting, and color recognition was well under way.

Her brilliant mom got her on a sleeping regiment after realizing that this was going to be kid who fought sleep. Now, a snuggle, a story, a little song, and sleepy time is moments away. La La Lu from Lady and the Tramp is always her first request. However, this Christmas Amelia switched it up a bit. She would say, “You sing La La Lu and I’ll sing Jingle Bells.” This wasn’t easy to do – but we all gave it our best.

Amelia doesn’t waist words. When I can’t understand what she is saying, she simply slows down and over annunciates until I do.

I took notice the first time I heard, “I need a hug”. Instead of crying when she feels scared, afraid, hurt, or sad, she simply says, “I need a hug.” If mom or dad aren’t near, one of the rest of us will do. A good hug makes all the sadness, pain, or fear go away. 

The morning she and Nana found a lizard in the kitchen, they put it in a bag and set it free outside – free to find it’s mommy and daddy. Now, anytime Amelia sees someone who looks lost or lonely, she says, “He needs his mommy and daddy.” This includes Ratatouille as he is floating through the sewers, Alice as she is wandering through Wonderland, and the Grinch – who clearly needs a mommy to give him a hug. 

Empathy flows from this kid. She can immediately sense when someone is frustrated or sad and she’s there by their side, rubbing a shoulder, snuggling in close, giving a hug, wiping away tears, and sweetly saying, “It’s okay, I’m here.” 

I’m not sure we need anymore in life than what Amelia has already discovered:

  • hugs take away our fears and sadness 
  • everyone needs someone like a mommy and daddy 
  • singing before bed is good 
  • take the time to make sure you are understood

It also helps to be able to sing different songs at that the same time!

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A Good Leader?

“Those dirty democrats.” That’s what my mom used to say. She grew up in Chicago in the 30 and 40’s so she came to this conclusion honestly. When Jimmy Carter won, and mom found out that my dad had voted for him, she was out of commission for 3 days. Turns out, Jimmy Carter is likely the most public servant president there ever has been. 

Mom passed a year ago, so I’m not sure how she would have responded to this election – except that I can see her wrinkling up her face, squinting her little eyes, and those same words would have passed her lips, “Those dirty democrats.” But she was in her 90s and earned the right to be a little loony.

I’m to a democrat or republican. Growing up I thought I was a republican. But that was back in the 70s when all the Evangelicals were on the “Moral Majority & Family Values” war path – this was at the same time when many Evangel leaders were – you know what-ing their secretaries – but as far as our country went, they held everyone else at a high standard. 

When it comes to election time, I look for leadership. Good leadership. A good leader will always have my best interest at heart. 

Last week someone posted a picture of our now former president. It said something like, “They don’t like him because they can’t control him.”

And that was it – it all made sense to me. Good leaders don’t need be to controlled, far from it. Good leaders are in control of themselves and thus can lead. If a spouse needs to be controlled – sorry to say, they aren’t a great spouse. If a parent needs to be controlled – they are lacking in their parental abilities and will likely raise children who will struggle in life – especially with authority. Good leaders are also not controlling -those who feel the need to control – lead out of fear.

I wasn’t a fan of Trump, never have been. Wouldn’t want to work for him, or be in the same room with him. Wouldn’t want my daughter to work for him either. He throws aways wives like they are disposable income. My husband always says, “You can tell a lot about a man when you meet his wife.” From the little I know, I believe this holds true in the Trump household. I am not sure about the men who thought Trump was the world’s answer to all it’s problems, my assumption is they must share some of his chauvinistic qualities. And my heart aches for the women who think his type of leadership is strong. You see, you can’t be a strong leader when you don’t respect most of those you are hired to lead. 

I cried when the news finally reported that we had a new president. I cried because I no longer had to be respectful of someone who was so disrespectful for so many segments of our population. During the last 4 years, I felt that I needed to be respectful even though I felt like an abused kid who still had to make weekly phone calls to their abusive parent. He was the sex offender who smiled and said, “It isn’t that bad…” I cried because I felt free. 

This is the second time in my life that I’ve had to overcome this feeling a abuse. I am an abused kid. 

I’m expecting to get responses that say I’m crazy, I’ve blown this out of proportion…but that is the same response I received  when I told people what had happened to me…so I’ve learned to not listen to those voices. 

This is my reality. 

I am grateful for the change in leadership. I’m over the moon that we finally have a cabinet of diversity. I’m excited to see what comes from a leader who isn’t afraid work along side and across from women. A man who boldly expresses his respect for what they bring to the table. I am excited to see how far our new woman leadership will take us. 

And in my head, I giggle when I think of all those men who raised Trump in high regards…cause they have to hate what is going on.

Ok – let’s be honest – I giggle out loud. 

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Carnivores

I had no idea that being a Carnivore was a thing unless you were a dinosaur or lion. But less than 4 months ago after being on a very balanced (protein, veggie, carb) meal plan I stepped off the scale and said, “I’ve got to get this under control or go see a doctor because there is something wrong.” My healthy eating (which I’m sure is wonderful for everyone else,) was not good for me and the scale was going in the wrong direction. It was going there quickly.

Within 2 hours of these word coming out of my mouth my sister texted me with a weird message that she was on the Carnivore diet. Minutes later we were talking – “what is the carnivore diet?  –  WHAT? People just eat meat? You can do that? WHY have I never heard of this before?!?!?!”

Yes, since September 22, 2019 I have been a Carnivore. In the first 48 hours these things happened:

  1. Dropped 5 pounds
  2. Indigestion and bloating were gone
  3. My energy level soared
  4. My brain fog disappeared, memory recall quickened
  5. I didn’t feel old anymore

When Jeff joined me about a month later, it took only a week before he saw a difference in his health

  1. He had way more energy
  2. Task like mowing our crazy front yard didn’t wipe him out
  3. He got tired, but the aches and pains were gone
  4. His weak ankles and flat feet didn’t hurt anymore
  5. Gout – something he has struggled with a lot in the past few years….was no where in sight.

So here we are, eating meat all day long and feeling amazing. 

I had read that within 1 month on this diet, the craving for sugar would go away – it did. I’m not talking little cravings – I don’t know what it means for something to be TOO SWEET – I can eat cake – all of it. Now, I can eat a piece of chocolate and it’s nice but one piece is sufficient. I sailed through Christmas without 1 ounce of the need to fill up on Christmas Cheer.

Weight? Yes, I’m loosing weight (at almost 60 that’s been a huge challenge for the past several years) but the weight is coming off like never before. I feel stronger then ever. Aches and pains…not part of my world anymore. Weight lose is not the priority any longer – feeling healthy is. More than weight – I’m dropping inches and it feels great. 

When I started this I committed to 1 month. After the first 3 weeks I changed it to 3 months. I’m now on a 6 month plan. Where it goes – I’m not sure cause I can’t imagine eating differently. The health benefits for Jeff and I have been above and beyond our wildest imaginations. We just may be carnivores until we die.

So here is tonights dinner – surf and turf – tri-tip and scallops in a butter/garlic aioli – how could this ever get old??

Here is some fun info…

https://nutritionwithjudy.medium.com/carnivore-diet-for-beginners-how-to-start-the-zero-carbohydrate-carnivore-diet-2334d426ea94

https://drberry.com/video_categories/carnivore-diet-101/

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Just a Whisper

Even though I may roll my eyes when asked what growing up as a preachers kids was like, I am grateful for many aspects of it. Especially for the Bible stories I learned in Sunday school. 

One that keeps coming to mind recently is a story between an arrogant king and a rugged old man know as a prophet. 

These two very different individuals decided to have a contest to prove which of their gods was the TRUE GOD. A stone alter was built and piled high with wood. The god who would be declared the winner would be the one who would start the fire.

Ya gotta laugh at that.

How we humans feel the need to prove that we are right. These two took it even further, “let’s make god prove who is right.” 

The king called all his wise advisors – it was a crowd. They all gathered together on top of the mountain and began their rituals of singing, dancing, praying, and shouting.

Our prophet man sat quietly in the shade watching the lively exhibition. After several hours he too got into the actions and began calling out things like, “Yell louder – maybe he can’t hear you!” And “Get more people marching up the hill – giant crowds always get god’s attention.”

After a full day of singing, dancing, praying, and shouting – nothing happened except there was a large group of people who were tired, horse, and defeated. 

Then it’s the prophets turn. He got the crowd engaged by asking them to bring jars of water to pour over the alter. They were very accommodating and when they had finished dousing the wood, alter, and ground around it, they stepped back. I’m guessing the prophet instructed them to stand way, way back.

In contrast to the giant crowd gathering exhibition of the king, the prophet man bowed his head and whispered, “Show them who is the true God.” Then he stepped back, way back.

The magnitude of the flame that erupted engulfed the wood, alter, and ground around it – all from a gentle whisper.

God isn’t lost. He isn’t in hiding. God doesn’t need us to yell and shout and march – dancing is ok, but the rest is unnecessary. The only requirement is a believing heart and impossible odds, and then STEP BACK and watch the fireworks. 

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Writer, Author and Coach. Jeannie started a publishing comapny in 2009 called A Silver Thread. Resides in a small beach town on the Central Coast of California and has a passion for people and stories. Click here to learn more.

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