Tigger

On July 24, 1995, I was a 21-year-old college student, living in an apartment with a bunny. I had no plans for anyone else to join my little family,
after having my heart broken by my first cat, a beautiful stray who succumbed to feline leukemia just eight months after I adopted him. And then I started
getting the calls.
Continue reading “Tigger”

No Shame In My Game: On Guilt and Blindness

We may have been at a museum, or maybe it was a park.
I don’t remember the location, but I will never forget the realization. I was with my parents, and younger brother. My Dad was describing something to me, and as my nine-year-old-girl mind contrasted that with the shouts and laughter from the other families, I suddenly realized a terrible thing!
My family, the best family in the world, couldn’t have fun like everyone else. They couldn’t have fun, because they had to stop and describe things to me. I was slowing them down.
I was keeping them from enjoying things.
It made my stomach hurt.
It made me want to cry. Continue reading “No Shame In My Game: On Guilt and Blindness”

Epilepsy: My Story

You are imprisoned. Your captors are known for their cruelty. You are in an unfamiliar land, far from anyone who will help you. Worse yet, your family and best friends are imprisoned, separated from you. Finally, a guard tauntingly tells you a thing you’ve been dreading more than your own fate. Tomorrow at eight A.M., fourteen hours from now, your loved ones will be tortured and killed in front of you. The floor drops out from beneath you, then rises up, spinning, catapulting you into a hateful whirlpool of nausea. You are freezing, but you are sweating. You have never felt so completely abandoned, even by God. Satan has never felt so close. It feels as if someone takes every memory and thought you’ve ever had out of your head, dumps them on the floor, then throws them back into your head in a jumbled mess. Nothing is familiar, and yet you have been through this before. After a few hours, you are physically exhausted. Finally, you accept that there is absolutely nothing more you can do to escape or help your loved ones. Continue reading “Epilepsy: My Story”

The Front Porch

Welcome to my front porch.

Sit a while, have a glass of sweet tea, or a bite to eat, and I will tell you a little about myself.

My name is Jena.

When I was a little girl, hay and honeysuckle were the scents I loved, and the sound of mockingbirds was my symphony. In my little hometown in east Texas, I sold Girl Scout cookies, took ballet and gymnastics, played a cow in the Christmas pageant at church, and had amazing birthday parties. I went through an awkward preteen stage, but it all worked out. In high school, I played drums in the marching band, acted as class President, stressed over SAT scores, and even won Band Sweetheart. A fortress of loving family supported me through all of it. I grew up sweet and slow, in a town filled with good people.

I went to college, got a cool apartment, and thought I knew a lot more than I did. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, but I had a lot of fun along the way. Later, I met my best friends, walked a half marathon, read a lot of books, and wrote some as-yet-unpublished novels to pass the time.

These days, I adore animals, including skunks and snakes. I am slightly obsessed with the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I will watch football for twelve hours straight, and baseball doubleheaders for as long as they last. Diet Coke is my oxygen! I love exercise, once i can get myself into it, and swimming is my favorite outdoor activity. Sometimes, I do stupid hilarious things that make my friends love me even more, and sometimes I give everything I have and don’t succeed. In other words, I am normal, quirky, imperfect, and occasionally amazing.

I have been blind since shortly after birth. It’s inconvenient on occasion, but otherwise, no big deal. I have a severe sleep disorder called Non 24, which is a result of my inability to see light. That challenge is much more difficult, because it disrupts my life on a regular basis. I also have temporal lobe epilepsy, and although my seizures are infrequent, they are the greatest hurdle for me where my health is concerned. In short, I am no stranger to adversity.

Even so, I love my life, and I feel blessed! My parents and grandparents taught me to see the world through a lens of optimism, to view unfairness or hardship as a challenge rather than an end, and most of all, to be grateful, for things big and small. My younger brother taught me that blindness made no difference, by treating me normally. My uncles taught me to laugh. My friends taught me about grace, dignity, and selflessness. If I am a good person, it is because every person in my life played a part in making me who I am today.

There is still so much I want to do.  I want to visit Scotland, see animals in Australia, become a life coach, try scuba diving, and a million other things. I hope I can share my vision of the world with you, make you smile, and leave you glad that you read this blog.

Come by any time.

I will be out here on the porch swing, writing and dreaming.