Healthy me, Struggles are Real

Accountability, finding people that hold you accountable physically, emotionally, morally, and all the space in between!

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1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV / Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Proverbs 27:17 ESV / 

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

I don’t like to sugar coat things, most time I will say things plainly especially if I love you.

I was not always compassionate with my approach, over the years and by choking on my words I wish I could take back I have learned to be honest without borderlining cruel.

I speak plainly about myself and many do not know how to receive that well. It’s ok, it’s how I do life.

I am what I am, popular is not a personal priority, I do however hold my standards that I am accountable to the Lord. I do not want to be a person that causes another “man” to stumble.

Surrounding yourself with people that hold you accountable is treasure worth investing time and energy in. I want people to say, “I love you but it’s time to stop hiding behind this excuse and ______!”

Or Jenn, I love you but I don’t agree and so I will pray for you and support you but this is what my heart believes!

For many years I have let “myself” go, I did not give energy to my personal needs including self care. I would feel guilty spending time improving myself, spending money on things for me, but instead poured out until I was drained and bitter if I am being honest. There was a time where I spent life in a constant state of “survival mode.” If you are in a season, maybe a child struggling with illness, the throws of motherhood, single parenting, or going through a trial…there is a time of adjustment but do not stay stagnant in that space!

I have been there! More times than I can count sometimes it was out of my control and sometimes it was out of throwing in the towel and accepting this as life.

But God wants us to live a full life even through trials. Grab the hand of someone positive around you and lean into one another. God always provides people who will hold you accountable, astonishingly you will see where you will also be the answer to their prayers. It’s amazing how that works.

I think the day my husband truly fell in love with me was when we had just begun dating and I stood up him.

I can think of two instances where he looked at me as if no one had ever spoken so plainly to him and it was not what he wanted to hear.

Wish I had a pic but I can still see his face when I said, “well I think you should take me home,” 10 minutes after arriving at a party with drinking and smoking, etc.

Another time was I was driving ( we were 19) and he had moved his seat belt as to not wrinkle his shirt. I pulled over and refused to drive until he was safe… He was so frustrated and yet so hooked.

Today, seventeen years of marriage behind us we hold each other accountable as spouses, as parents, as believers, as people.

Also, I seek out the people God has called into my life where I know they will speak life and truth to me, likewise I can’t be just a life-sucker…I have a responsibility to return the favor in love of course.

Right now I am taking an honest inventory of me.

I haven’t just set goals and hopes but a plan and accountability. God has blessed me with friendships that challenge me, encourage, and especially will not sugar coat places that need change. This is spiritual, physical, mental, moral, and all other aspects of life that are nearly impossible to go alone.

There are no excuses to being unhealthy and obese. I want a full life with confidence, you can’t have both.

I have friends who have stepped up to be accountability partners! So grateful for them!

If you are needing someone to help hold you accountable, with honest answers and prayers then message me! We can do his together!

Be iron!

Faith, Uncategorized

Breaking a cycle of spiritual attack with a hedge of protection, work in progress!

There was a time when my sweet friend from high school was like Jennifer I swear you guys are cursed. It kinda felt like that, sometimes I joke about our 3 month cycle of crazy circumstances but y’all the devil has no new tricks.

I’m a visual person so here is a quick reference timeline to our chaos.

 

Good news, the enemy does not win in our life. We love the Lord deeper, love for each other stronger, our children may need therapy when they are older but that’s normal, right?

What I learned through mentorship (women God has put in my life) and hard-knock lessons, and some out of pure desperation.

  1. I use previous trials and overcoming hardships are sources of strength. I also seek out stories of others that I can admire and be encouraged from. Possibly why I share, the Lord has brought other testimonies in my path that deeply move me, I pass that on. It’s amazing to look back and reflect on how God was merciful and provided during the times that for lack of a better word, sucked. You think you won’t ever survive but you do! Use that, reflect on it, see where things came together and give God glory!
  2. Pray specifically. I learned this in desperation. I don’t pray fluffy prayers in the midst of trials, I try my best to keep up the same intensity and passionate communication with God even in between the chaos. By fluff I mean “your will Lord, whatever that is…” If I need a miracle I ask for it boldly. I trust the Lord to provide. If Katy or Haven are in pain from their chiari malformation for example I pray specifically for the pain to stop in Jesus’ name. I expect it. This may sound a little wonky and that is ok by me. I am honest about what I feel, my emotions on my sleeve and an open book!
  3. Pray for protection. Pray for the cycle to be broken if you feel there is one. Pray and plead the blood of Jesus over your life! Shout it out, cry it out, think it out loud that anything the enemy tries to steal, kill or destroy in your life is protected and broken by God and his angels! I believe this with my whole being, you may think what you want but I have lived it out. I also now pray that I am protected from myself, my short comings, my humanness, that I will cause no harm.

It is not always popular to do the right thing,  I will probably get critiscm for sharing these radical thoughts I am not a student of theology, but I sure have a relationship with a loving, providing, and personal God, my Heavenly Father, Jesus Messiah! I get all pumped up sharing about what he has done for me, what I have witnessed him do for others!

How can I pray for you?

If you do not know what I talk about but would like mentorship, encouragement or prayer please message me!

 

chiari malformation, Faith, Struggles are Real

That time a couple nurses tried to hold me back…

Life Lesson: Does God really know the number of hairs on our head??? And I change my answer!!!
When I was a “baby” Christian and even young adult I would have answered, ummm it’s not literal but figurative! Until God showed me I was wrong! 😂
A little background…Katy our oldest daughter the one who was in the accident with me, has an amazing testimony to be so young! Man am I thankful to be her mama! I could write 4 posts as quickly as lightening how God has worked miracles and taught me things from her! I mean she is still 13(and carries my temper genes 😉)
When she was 3 she underwent neurosurgery. Children’s hospital in Dallas was amazing and God blessed us with a team of ah inspiring surgeons (including Dr. Bradley Weprin that was on Ben Carson’s team) Favor of the Lord! Complete!!!
Anyway, the day of the surgery there were some inner struggles! We were facing a 7 hr surgery on around her spinal cord, skull, and vertebrae. She was 3 and 27 lbs. We had also learned she probably spent every day of those three years in pain. Daily! You would never know it! 💔
We had a few family members there with us, countless praying, we were young parents clinging to hope, faith, and more faith!
At around 5.5/6 hrs in we got a page to meet the doctor in a private room…
It’s the longest walk to the private room!
Dr. Weprin still in scrubs from cap to booties looked as white as a ghost, blood completely washed out, nothing like the crisper man we met bright and early at 5/6am…
It went like textbook! He pulled his cap off and eased into the metal/plastic hospital chair…
I think Chris and I just sat in shock because of looking at him we secretly were waiting for the worst! It’s funny now, and I apologize if you have heard this story but…”we can’t imagine what “challenging” difficult, close-call, or even tragic looks like”
So here is the point to this post… in recovery only one can go back, from there we would be moved to ICU. I looked over at Chris like over my dead body you go back first!
He didn’t even challenge it’s just a funny thing the maternal mama bear 🐻

A nurse led me back to a recovery room. There was a long row of children… I didn’t count but a lot. The nurse explained that Katy was not doing well coming out of anesthesia!
Ok! I was ready for whatever that meant!
If God brought us this far like “textbook” the rest he has!
She brought me to a child with think beautiful black hair and olive skin. The child was screaming and squirming. She said Katy is not doing well!
Ok what do I do?
Well she might do better if you hold her or comfort her!
Ok 😳😳😳
I still did not get it! She motioned for me to come forward and hold “Katy”
Um that’s not my Katy
(Slight panic but Katy is common name mid-grade level of concern)
Another nurse realizing there must be a mistake she said, ” oh this is Katy Eeeerkenohrst”
( ☝🏼highest level of panic📈)
No! I’m Jennifer Eikenhorst and this is not Katy Eikenhorst! Where is my baby? She just had brain surgery!!!
Like at once or at least I remember it this way 3 nurses surround me trying to get me in the hall to figure out the mess and out of the “quiet” recovery room.
But I wasn’t budging
I’m not leaving here until you tell me where she is!
Ma’am we just need you to..
“That’s her foot!” I shouted
😧😮😲the nurses I’m sure we’re like what?
That’s her foot! I repeated already plowing through to get to her side! I spotted the curve of her small chubby, still toddler foot from across the room! It was just poking out of the warm hospital white blanket! Her face was harder to see because of the breathing tube and wires, etc.
But I recognized her foot!
Of course I did! I bathed and kissed those toes, tickled them!!! They were mine! I helped make them! You don’t know you have these special skills as a mother and intricate knowledge till you need them! 😉

Needless to say lots of “people” from hospital staff came to check on us! Her name sticker had been put on the other girls chart! I am happy to report they did not do the wrong and unnecessary brain surgery on the other sweet child that was mad as a hornet!
It took a while after Katy was better for me to feel normal again! It’s exhausting when something is wrong with your baby!
While reflecting one day I realized! 💡
God knows the exact number of hairs on my head and on your head!

When I was @ 16 my parents asked me if I was fanatical in my walk with Christ. As a teenager I said No!
I change my answer mom and dad! I am fanatical!

I have tasted the goodness of God and my eyes have seen his wonders!

 

New to Waco, Uncategorized

Falling in love with Waco, TX while falling just a little more in love!

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We moved to Waco, TX summer of 2017 and it wasn’t for the Silos (Sorry Chip and JoAnna) we moved under what most would consider pretty strained circumstances, but God all but put a burning bush or brightest blinking lights over Waco, TX. There was no denying an open door, and a closed one behind us.

We are in awe at how God has changed our heart towards this small but big town.

Truth is we are falling deeper in love exploring the quaint little shops, the trails and history-rich architecture that Waco provides. And the FOOD, the FOOD TRUCKS!!! For the love!

If you are visiting Waco here is a running list of places to see, do, eat! Other than the #1 spot in the US currently, Magnolia Market, here are some sweet spots. The Magnolia cookies are as big as your face and are worth the line that wraps around the bakery.

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#1 Lula Jane’s

What we love: The atmosphere! Everything on the chalkboard menu! Everyday Tuesday-Saturday something unique is served up fresh! If you happen to be there and the summer sandwich is on the menu or if the veggie burger is still available, you will not be disappointed!

Describe it: Quaint*Fresh*Grandma-ish*Wholesome*Delicious

#2 Cafe Cappuccino

What we love: The flavored coffee such as raspberry chocolate, Italian sodas and spilling off the plate sweet potato pancakes. I add pecans with a side of sauteed veggies, my honey loves the omelettes. They know us as regulars and provide excellent customer service! Bonus funky murals adorn the outside of the building in the heart of downtown Waco.

Describe it: Eclectic*Affordable*Fresh*Cafe Love*Breakfast*Brunch*Lunch

#3 Dichotomy

What we love: You will immediately feel cool or hip when you walk in here. The hubs and I have met here to have a discussion over discipline for the kids or escape the kids…We also worked across the table together laptops up and an excellent drink coffee or adult beverage your choice! Bonus: One of the best views of downtown Waco is upstairs from the balcony!

Describe it: Cool*Coffee bar*Adult Bar*Hangout*Chill*Funky

#4 Cameron Park Trail along the River

Walk, run, or chill! Take the fur babies, take the family, take your love! On our to-do list is rent a paddle boat, take the boat tour, or paddle boards this summer. You can bike, fly a kite, feed some ducks, enjoy the sunshine and outdoors! We have frequented this trail several times since moving to Waco. There is also a strip of food trucks on the University side of Cameron Park.

#5 Spice Village– This collection of shops is a one-of a-kind! So many things to explore. I have visited this mosaic of shopping with my bestie that came to visit and with the hubs. Had the best time with both of them! There truly is something for everyone. We laughed so hard at the collection of socks, knick knacks, awed and admired the decor, boutique clothes, and other treasures!

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Accidental Casualty Survivor, Struggles are Real

Hello my name is Jennifer, a wife, mom to 4, teacher, and an accidental killer…

Woah ya that’s a loaded title. I don’t type it easily, or with pride, but slowly I am also sharing it with a little less shame/guilt, or self -hate. I share to find others, I share to show as my friend and fellow CADI terms, the flip side of a very painful road!

I always loved a great tragedian play, never guessed I would live one. My 2016/2017 in lyric would have been the saddest country song ever sung.

I was involved and responsible for a life-altering, world shattering accident that claimed a man’s life. I joined a club of accidental killers. I actually feel like throwing up each time I type that. I/we prefer the term CADI (Causing Accidental Death or Injury) or ACS (Accidental Casualty Survivor).

Most people do not think of us unless slinging hatred and judgment. Unfortunately, I am guilty of that. I once and I quote said, “If this ever happens to me I would pursue that person to the full extent of the law!” This statement was me talking a bunch of hot judgmental air that really breaks my heart now. I was talking with my mom after we had learned of someone who tragically and unexpectedly lost their husband in a car accident and she was now widowed and raising 4 children alone. The other driver survived and is a CADI. Little did I know that one day I would be on the other end, bringing the worst pain to another family.

How could I ask for or expect grace?

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I share because maybe someone is struggling to forgive a CADI for an accident that claimed a loved one, I hope my openness helps in some way.

I share because my story may help other CADI/ACS feel less alone.

I share because I now am on a healing journey from anxiety,  panic, and depression.

I share because I was broken, still broken, and plan to make my broken beautiful by not giving up!

This story is in lots of pieces that I will share little by little.

In May of 2017 I stumbled upon a post looking for CADIs to share their stories with a nationally published journalist, I thought here is my chance to share my heart. Maybe just maybe people can see we are not monsters. Alice Gregory other than my therapist heard more details of my accident than my own husband. I was very lerie of sharing at first, I wanted to know her intentions. She just had a thought, she wanted to know the flip side…what happens to people who cause the death of another. She was incredibly easy to talk to, I can not imagine taking in all of our stories in raw form. Beyond words of gratitude!

Her bravery to explore a taboo and sensitive subject opened discussion. Most people feel that by defending or lending compassion to me (CADIs) that they suddenly become insensitive to the real people that lost in the situation, the families of the deceased.

It is true! They lose in ways I cannot fathom. Asking for their forgiveness, seems very selfish. How to ask for such a thing, yet this request is behind many of my thoughts and prayers.

What the public does not know is the grief, trauma, PTSD, anxiety, shame, suicidal ideation, and nightmare cocktail that a CADI/ACS will suddenly and abruptly swim/ drown in.

You can read the article here.

Thank you Alice, for giving us a voice! I feel especially grateful because through that interview I have now joined a community. I have formed some friendships that are bonded in tragedy.

No, I will never “get over it” even time will not heal this,it is unlike situations you can relate to.

Yes, I accept that I am not the one who lost a life, I still grieve something. I hope the mental health community will eventually research and study us.

Most importantly God is faithful and I owe everything to my Savior! I may have not survived without my faith!

Miracles happen! I hope to share them with you!

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Catch all drawer (random), Faith

Do you have an enemy?

Dun dun duuuun. No really the word enemy is rarely used because it has this dramatic connotation. I am a normal gal I lean on the make love/friends, peace/ not war mentality as I believe most human beings do. We all have been wronged at some point and we have all wronged someone else even if unintentionally.

 

What if wronging others or being wronged was apart of our story on purpose, with purpose???

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I can’t answer that. I do want to break this down into some smaller bite size pieces as I sort through my own thinking and you guys are welcome for the ride through my thoughts! You are welcome! I will likely owe you a glass of wine or piece of chocolate when we are done!

Yesterday I prayed for an enemy, I mean someone I felt wronged/mistreated by. And when I describe wronged I mean they hurt the people I love most in the world in a roundabout way, not directly, well sorta they did, anyway! I prayed for them in their time of need and I prayed fervently until my nose burned and my eyes stung. I don’t get an award for that, but I sure did feel relief. Because it bugged me, the spirit festered knowing what I should do, what I needed to release. We all need prayer, especially those hard to pray for or with, they need it most, we all need it most!

#truth1 I want forgiveness, therefore I offer forgiveness

#therealtruthOne I believe the Bible and it’s Holy Words in entirety, therefore I look to be like Jesus, one who forgives ALL things (man that is hard to really picture) and release that energy of hatred, frustration, hurt, pain, all to God alone.

Does not make it right!

Let me say it again, it does not make it RIGHT!

What happened to my family through the decisions of this person were 100% wrong in the manner it was handled, yes I will go to the grave with that opinion.

But God. But God worked it out for our good. If it wasn’t so snotty I should write them a thank you note, so I won’t because I don’t wish to be snotty. God allowed a door to close for another to open, it’s that simple.

I release acceptance, grace, and understanding for the people who have “wronged” me in my lifetime.

Likewise, I pray with all my heart I am forgiven. Like the guy in Elementary school that  I stood as bystander and watched a girl make fun of his lips, I knew it was wrong, but I said nothing. Nowadays we would define what she did daily to this young man as bullying. This breaks my heart! That stuck with me until highschool and junior year I had a random class with him. I saw an empty desk next to his one day so I nonchalantly slide my backpack down in my cheer uniform like it was normal and looked over.

“Hi Bryan, you might not remember me from elementary school but …”

“I remember you,” he said quietly, yet still in a way he still immediately was reminded of  the chanting and belittling.

“I am so sorry for what we did back then, I hope you can forgive me!”

God is in those little things, and he is in the big things like when I asked a man to forgive me for pulling out in front of him, an accident that took his life.

These situations can not be humanly compared, one is a pebble splashed in a young man’s pond of childhood, the other a monsoon of permanent consequences for an entire family.

I have responsibility and ownership of both.

Therefore, I forgive grievances and not just because I want a shiny prize on earth or in heaven but because I desperately would long for forgiveness for those moments I fall short.

*If the spirit moves you (that little nudge inside) it does not matter what time and space has passed, if you need to own something and say sorry, do it! Big Courage means, bigger freedom!

Here are the scripture that God graciously surrounded me with while I struggled to pray for my sister-in Christ. (shameful, really I am sorry I struggled)

But seriously I received two email notifications with subject line: Forgiveness, and a bunch of other fun little hints everywhere I turned!

So dig deep and ask God to show you areas where you have not truly forgiven.

Bonus fact: I sucks your energy staying angry and bitter, and it also gives you terrible wrinkles so let it GO!

Matthew 5:44

“I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you.”

1 Peter 3:9

“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

Romans 12:20

“On the contrary, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Lord,

This is hard sometimes. There are people who have betrayed us, there are people who are selfish and have hurt us. We can not forgive on our own, each time I try it’s like I pick back up the anger when convenient. The heart of this is trust and pride. I need to release control and trust you have made a way through this person’s actions. Help me to see this person as you see them. Help me to have compassion for those that remain in their own sin that hurts others. Protect me, guard my heart, and make is tender so that I do not carry on a cycle of unforgiveness.

Amen and amenbible1

 

 

 

marriage, Struggles are Real

We still do…

Oh my word this man!!!!

This. Man! He may look like he is grabbing my boobs (And He definitely is!) but he has my heart! (teenagers were mortified by their daddy’s hand placement, ha!)

We are a special kind of crazy-in love! ️

Lesson # 728493 on why I love my husband! 16 years of bumps, bruises, and all out brawls, but we still do…

He is a coach, I am a coach’s wife (if you are one, then you know)

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Our life is juggled by the seasons, literally (what sport is in season?!! and there we will be) and spiritually!

There was a time I thought he loved video games more than me.

Loved sports more than me.

Players/athletes more than us…

It took years to see the unhealthy thinking!

 

Truth is he is a talented coach and it is his ministry. Supporting him in his passion is incredibly important to his confidence as a man and leader of our home! It took a series of events for me to see. As much as I hated to share him with the players, parents, officials, other coaches, and ________, I also knew I was/and still am his biggest fan!

 

We rode the bus, traveled with the team, with a baby on my hip, one in the stroller and one clinging to my shirt… it was rough but I learned I would rather be there than wondering what the score was. Before he started coaching we were in youth ministry and we worked for a children’s home. (Oh the stories of our 4 years there!) God was blending his youth ministry calling with love of all things athletic.

*side note when we were dating and falling in love Chris would volunteer coach tennis with my dad (who was a  HS tennis coach at my alma mater)

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I had 3 children under the age of 5 and I felt what I would describe as my love-tank was on empty. I was running on fumes in the love area. This was before the “cake” illustration but God was working on us both. Chris was asked to help coach football and run the weight room. This was in addition to our house-parent duties. He loved it! He came alive and spoke into the lives of these young men. However, there is sacrifice with a dedicated coach…I felt alone.

So in an attempt to help him see what he was missing I made a plan.

 

-God has a sense of humor!

 

Secretly I packed bags for the kids and I made a plan to leave while he was at practice “teach him a lesson” I was only going to visit his family 3 hrs away with a note on the counter… (drama)

The jokes on me because I learned the lesson.

I told God, “Ok Lord when he leaves today for practice we are leaving!”

3:00 rolled around and he had made plans for another coach to cover for him and we went to the park.

Mind you no one, Not a Soul knew my “plan” but God!!!

We had a great time as a family, I even made a few snarky remarks about practice and he didn’t take the bait but said he wanted to spend time with us.

So the next day I said, “Ok Lord today when he goes down to practice, we are leaving and all he will have is that letter telling him that we need to be a priority!”

 

And then 3:00 rolled around and our time into Ft. Worth “town” had run long and we were not back in time for practice.

I just started laughing watching the clock and he reached over and grabbed my hand as we drove back.

I was convicted! God showed me the plan he has trumps my plans!

I am so very grateful for the Lord in this lesson!

After about 2 weeks I pulled the bags out from under the bed (secret spot 🤣) and confessed to Chris my big selfish plans.

We both cried.

We made a few compromises, hashed a few things out and most importantly grew deeper in love!

 

Be mindful of a few things…things I’ve learned the hard way…

Pray for his passions!

Pray for his direction!

Let God fill your cup!

Be careful what you TELL God! The joke will always be on you!

Be mindful of the spirit trying to intervene when we are veering away from God’s will!

Laugh *Love* Learn* Lean on each other!

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