Jeannie Bruenning Author


I’ve been thinking (and talking) a lot about inner tubes in the past few months. It’s an image that we use in the book Living Unstuck and it’s an image that has etched itself into my brain.

The idea of living life as if we are resting on an inner tube and gently floating through life is a great image but what does it really represent? What is the inner tube and where do I find the stream? This is the very discussion I had with myself last weekend.

These are the answers that my smarter-self had to offer:

The inner tube is our life. The image I have is a large, oversized, black inner tube. It’s an inner tube for one, such as our lives are. We interact, get connected, we get involved, but at the end of the day, we have been given, are responsible for, and live ONE life.

The stream is the current we choose to propel our inner tubes. There are a million streams! There are streams named anger, jealousy, and resentment. I think these streams carry a lot of sickness and disease and when we choose to float down them we are at risk of contamination. There are streams known as, self-doubt, insecurity, and self-centeredness. There are streams of instant gratification, striving for success, and prosperity. If you can think it, there’s a stream for it.

We are all currently floating down a stream in our inner tubes of life. We can try and pass the blame onto someone else for putting us in our stream, but if we are honest, we are all in the stream of our own choosing.

I don’t know about you but these words have suddenly messed up the lovely image I had in my head a few moments ago of an oversized black inner tube allowing the current to take me through life.

So what can we do when life suddenly sweeps us away and we find ourselves in a stream of yuckiness?

That’s easy! We simply stand up, pick up our tube, and go back to the gentle stream. We set our tube in the cool water and careful get on board. We breathe deeply as we release the yuckiness we’ve carried with us and once again begin to learn to trust the stream.

The more I think about life as an inner tube, the more I fall in love with the idea of it.

Feb Release

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Sand Dollars

There is a large glass vase that sits on my fireplace. It has the words Lest You Forget etched into it. It’s meant to be a marker, a way of remembering.

We need markers in our life to help us remember. As young parents we forget what it was like to be a kid. As parents of teens we forget the stupid stuff we did that taught us life lessons. As mature adults we forget the mistakes made that allowed us to become mature adults.

When we first moved to California, I spent a lot of time collecting sand dollars, seventy to be exact. They weren’t just any sand dollars, they had to be perfect; no cracks or missing backs. I brought them home, wash them and let them bleach in the sun. Then, I carefully laid them in the jar. This jar and its 70 perfect sand dollars was a marker to me of life prior to California.

Two Fridays ago I had an nagging feeling all day that I had forgotten something. It wasn’t until evening when it dawned on me that exactly ten years ago on that day, I had flown into San Luis Obispo, CA for the first time. A decade, my mind immediately began recalling all that had happened in those ten years.

It wasn’t an easy decade by any stretch of the imagination. There was an enormous amount of change, health issues, loss of career, financial loss, and family tragedy. The images that filled my head were not of celebration but of pain. And then suddenly, there was the image of a large glass vase filled with sand dollars and it no longer marked life prior to California, rather our first decade here.

The next day we packed a small cooler, a shovel, and a large glass vase filled with dusty sand dollars and Jeff and I headed to the beach.

We parked and Jeff took the shovel and began digging a hole while I retrieved the cooler and poured two glasses of wine. When both tasks were complete, I pick up the glass vase and held it for a moment as if placing all the sadness I had been reminded of into it. I then carefully tipped it over and seventy, once perfect, sand dollars spilled out.

As the last of the dollars landed I couldn’t help but notice the perfect, white, brilliant ones that now laid on top of the pile. “And there it is,” I thought. “That’s the full circle.” Surrounded by faded, dusty and broken sand dollars were beautiful white perfect ones, so breathtaking that I had to stop myself from retrieving them.

I had been remembering the loss and had forgotten that it was only because of the loss that life is now more amazing and wonderful than I could have ever imagined…and I have a big imagination.

Jeff covered the hole and we toasted to the past, to lessons learned, and to all that lay ahead of us in 2018 and beyond.

…There is a large glass vase that sits on my fireplace. It has the words, Lest You Forget etched into it. It’s meant to be a marker, a way of remembering…it’s waiting to be filled.



Check out my new project:

Living Unstuck; finding your joy!

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Feeling or Fact

I heard him say, “I just can’t forgive myself. I feel so guilty…”

I’ve heard others say this very thing but on that day his words hit me in an odd way. What would cause someone to not accept forgiveness? Why would anyone want to hold on to the past that badly?

“I feel guilty…” I played it over and over. Then it dawned on me, maybe guilt isn’t an emotion. Maybe it’s just a simple fact.

There are two reason why we feel guilty. The first is that we are super sensitive, insecure, and feel like everything that goes wrong in the world, in our lives, and in the lives the people around us must be our fault. We have caused all the evil, bad luck, and devastation in the world and are resigned to carrying the guilt and responsibility until the day we die. To those I simply ask, “How’s that working for you?”

The second reason we feel guilty is that we are. We did something – that cause something – thus we are guilty. In this case, guilt isn’t an emotion, it’s a fact. We are guilty!

This should not be alarming to anyone since we are all guilty of something. Even God says we are all guilty. So why do we pretend we aren’t? Why do we prefer making this fact into a feeling and carry it through life with us?

Once we flip the switch from feeling guilty to admitting that our guilt as a fact, we are free to accept forgiveness. Whether that’s God’s forgiveness, the forgiveness of another, or forgiving ourselves. It can only be accepted when we admit we were wrong.

Guilt is a fact, not a feeling.

I’m quite sure a jury never came to the conclusion that the defendant felt guilty.


Check out my new project: Living Unstuck; finding your joy!


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Three Little Words

As 2016 came to an end, I contemplated what adventures were awaiting the arrival of 2017. I like making resolutions, but last year I simplified it to three words: Books, Trips, Easy.

As I’ve begun thinking about my words for 2018, I decided to look back and evaluate my 2017 results.

Books. YES! it was a good year for books!

  • I got to meet wonderful, creative, new authors
  • The Plan, my favorite title, was re-worked and re-released
  • The Retail Ladder was recorded and is available on Audible
  • Ready for print is “Living Unstuck” my first collaboration.

All in all – Books was good!


  • Wisconsin in the February. Visited my mother who had a very bad bout with the flu. There’s ice and snow, wind and freezing rain in Wisconsin in the February. No one has ever written a lovely song about it as they have of other places.
  • Wisconsin in ‘later’ Spring. Visited my mother who was recovering from the flu and moving into assistant living. There’s ice and snow, wind and freezing rain in Wisconsin in ‘later’ Spring. Still no songs being written about it.
  • Denver in the Summer. Drove to LA, flew to Denver, met the grandkids at the airport, flew back to LAX and drove 3.5 hours back home…all in one day.
  • Las Vegas in the Summer. Drove to Las Vegas to return grandkids and returned to LA in an adventurous 16 hours.
  • Chicago at Christmas. Three nights on Michigan Avenue enjoying the lights of the city; Wicked, jazz clubs, Hot Spiced Rum, pneumonia and a funeral.

Lesson: I must learn to be more specific with my words!

Easy… Easy is my new way of life.

Easy was a success!

What three little words will define 2018?

I’m still thinking about them, redefining them. The first is rock solid, the other two need to be evaluated. I’m considering adding an adverb or two. After all, my 2017 Trips may have been different if I had said, “Vacations”.


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Tubing Through Life

Every been tubing? It was a favorite summer activity as a teen. We’d drive to the middle of nowhere, pay our fee and climb on an old school bus painted hunter green. With a strong enough imagination, you could pretend you were traveling with the Partridge Family. The bus would transport us up a winding road, hugging close to the edge of the river. In tow was a trailer filled with big black inner tubes.

When we arrived to our destination, the bus quickly emptied and its passengers made our way to the river bank. At the same time, the bus driver made his way to the trailer and with the pull of the end of a single rope, giant inner tubes donut rolled down the incline and landed in the water.

In a blink, Partridge Family bus guests forgot they were on tour and dove into the water to catch an inner tube before it floated off.

Once captured, the next challenge was mounting the black rubber vessel. Some would fling it over their heads and allow it to settle at their waist. The next challenge was figuring out how to get their legs up through hole.

Other’s would do the daring backwards leap in hopes their butts would land dead center. Seventy-five percent of the time both human and tube would capsize, throwing the human in the water and the tube in the air.

The preferred method was to belly flop on top of the tube and once balanced, roll over allowing gravity to pull our butts through the hole. Once securely settled in, our feet were free to kick the air, arms were wrapped around the warm rubber tire, head leaned back resting on tube, allowing the current to take us down the river.

No matter how one mounted the tube, once safely on board the river did the rest of the work. For the next few hours, the river was in control and there was no doubt it would take us to the where we needed to go.

In the past year I’ve experienced moments in life that felt like I was still tubing. Moments where things fell into place, strangers I needed to meet crossed my path, opportunities bumped into me and all the while I was just floating along on my inner tube trusting the river. It felt easy. It felt amazing. It felt right.

Those moments have turned into a preferred way of life. A life filled with anticipation to see who I’ll bump into, or what adventure will find me around the next bend. But nothing really needs to happen because floating peacefully down stream, safely tucked away in my big black warm inner tube, is pleasure enough.

There are a few secrets to tubing through life: the first is learning to trust the River. Call it whatever you’d like, Universe, Source, Light, my preference is God; you’ll never begin floating until you begin trusting that the River will take you to where you need to be.

The second is to stay in your own tube and don’t invite anyone to ride along – you’ll likely capsize. The third is to let go of anything that would keep you anchored, bound, tied or tethered, you can’t hold on and move at the same time.

Jumping into the river can be scary. Mounting your tube can be challenging. But once you’ve figured it out, floating down the River is a blast and you’ll never want to live any other way.

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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.

New Release

LIVING UNSTUCK is a collection of lessons to navigate through the journey of finding joy and living a life unstuck. Released Feburary 1st. Learn more...