on trying to wrap my head around it

image found at evanliao.com

image found at evanliao.com


so many things running through my head…
so many thoughts and ideas and ponderings

I hesitantly posted something on Facebook last night
what if I couldn’t pass the exam?
could I stand the shame?
would I overcome the embarrassment?


but then I thought…I’ve come so far!

so here is what I am trying to wrap my head around…

10 years, 3 months, and 1 day ago
(but who’s counting)
I was involved in a car accident that forever changed my life.

just shy of a month after the accident, I remember being awake
(I was in a coma for 24 days, but don’t remember waking up right away)
I remember the hospital bed and the room – drab and sterile, of course
I didn’t realize that I was in a rehab hospital in Warren, OH
I didn’t realize that days had passed…weeks even
I didn’t know what happened to me (I had a traumatic brain injury and broken pelvis as a result of the accident)
I didn’t know if I was to blame
I didn’t know if I killed someone or not.

I recognized those who were already familiar to me…
my parents, sister, aunts, friends, etc.
I had taken my 2 nieces to Niagara Falls earlier in the week before my accident,
remembered that we had left Grove City Outlets,
and then

one of my first thoughts was “where are the girls?  are they ok?”
even when I saw them, nothing made sense

the days that followed were pretty much filled with
other people telling me what had happened
and me asking questions
and me having to remember so many things…

I couldn’t walk…and it took months for me to be able to walk without the aid of a walker
I had a difficult time forming and saying words
and sometimes I still get a little hung up on words
I couldn’t write (I don’t really like my handwriting now)
go to the bathroom on my own (my “pee-er” was broken)
or make sense of words on a page
(words literally looked like this…  theywerealljum bledonthe pageandI knewthattheym adesomesortofse nsebutIdidnt’tseeit)

—this was me!
pushing a button
at the mercy of someone else
when I had to go to the bathroom (or just going in my diaper)
having to ask permission to get up
talk about lack of autonomy and freedom
(or lie down)
trying to make sense of numbers and letters
and fighting against not being who I used to be

…my new normal

fast forward 10 years…
I am pleased to say that I can use the bathroom and shower without assistance
(just in case anyone was wondering) 🙂
I get up and lie down whenever I choose
and don’t ring a bell to do so
numbers are still kind of difficult for me,
but I have learned to slow down
and take my time
and letters…
folks, let me tell you,
the letters make sense!

I read every night before I go to sleep
I have read so many text books (or at least parts of them) for graduate school
I have published 2 books
I have an active online presence with this blog
in one month – I will be finished with my Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling!!

part of that degree means becoming licensed as a counselor and taking a licensure exam
I took that exam this morning…
and passed!

so, yes.  I am trying to wrap my damaged head around all of that.

I remember sitting in my wheelchair, working on my “homework” assignments
not being able to get what was in my head
(an answer to a math problem or recognizing that a group of letters formed a word)
either out of my mouth or
on the paper through my hand that sort of held a pencil
(oh yeah, I had to use my left hand at first because my right hand didn’t “work”)
I am right-handed…do you know how different it is to brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand?

I find it interesting that I am remembering little details like that as I am recalling all of this…

a friend of mine asked me just about a week ago about the extent of my injuries
(thanks, Ashley for asking)
to look at me, I think it would be very difficult to tell that all any this happened to me
I don’t draw attention to it
I don’t really talk about it

but today, today the gravity and the seriousness of it all came flooding in around me
as I was studying for the NCE that I took this morning,
I was not sure that I would be able to keep everything in order…
from Glasser, Adler, Minuchin, and Rogers
to Roe and Holland to convergent and concurrent
z-scores and t-scores and Piaget and Erikson
it was all becoming a muddled mass in my head…

as I sat in front of the computer screen
(after going through more security measures than the TSA requires)
I was
thankful that the letters formed words that I could read and understand
and feeling anxious that I hadn’t studied the correct things

2 hours
200 hundred questions
and a mushy brain later
I was given the fantastic news that I had indeed

let me wrap my head around that!!

nearly 25 years after graduating from high school
after closing a failing business
after personal bankruptcy
after the death of my mother
loss after loss after loss
after having to remember how to do the most basic things…

…here I was walking across the parking lot
to get into my car that I drove on my own
after just passing a National Counselor Exam!!
(might I add that I got over and above the minimum score required to pass)

yes…I was (and still am) a bit emotional

I am having difficulty wrapping my head around this today.

Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
    I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
    it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God – Isaiah 43:1-4 (MSG)

I truly have received something I don’t deserve…
how do you wrap your head around that??


the morning after


I woke up this morning thinking, “well, that really happened”

so here we are.
some disgusted
some jubilant
some crushed
some feeling absolutely terrific

I’m grieving…
not because one candidate didn’t get elected
or because the other did.
grieving because our nation, this great nation, is divided….polarized

what took place during the past few months was our freedom at work
our liberty with feet and legs
and vocal cords and mouths
but it was freedom, nonetheless.

I was, as a woman, granted the privilege to cast a vote yesterday…
I didn’t have to wear a disguise
I didn’t have to demand that I should be allowed…I was free to do so.
I was also free to voice an opinion via a ballot for my own dissatisfaction with my options in this election.

today, I am free to voice an opinion about that election process without fear
without censors

this, my friends, is what men and women have given their lives for…our freedoms
and yes, our freedom to be disjointed in our beliefs
on opposite sides of issues

and even to voice our allegiance to Someone greater than ourselves
to God who was not surprised in the wee hours of this morning with the color red
who did not transform
who did not disappear
who has not abandoned us
who is the same – yesterday, today, and for the rest of forever!

have we lost sight of that?
that we are not in charge
that the choices we are allowed to make came at a great price
that we don’t control the present, past or future?
that we don’t always get “our way”?
(and who is to say that we have it right?)

How enduring is God’s loyal love;
the Eternal has inexhaustible compassion.
Here they are, every morning, new!
Your faithfulness, God, is as broad as the day  – Lamentations 3:22-23  (the Voice)

the morning after…
with new mercies
new love and compassion
where do we go from here??

first, my friends, I encourage you to sit in your feelings for a bit…
look at them
feel them
smell them
are they speaking anything to you?
do they taste sweet?

sift through them…

Fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy – Philippians 4:8 (the Voice)

keep what can be filtered through this
and set the other ones aside…you may not be ready to give those up right now

you know what?
that’s okay!

We cannot wrap our minds around God’s wisdom and knowledge! Its depths can never be measured! We cannot understand His judgments or explain the mysterious ways that He works! – Romans 11:33 (the Voice)

and I encourage you to find people to talk to
who will listen without the need to respond
who will process with you whatever is going on inside…
who will walk beside you on this path –
this is going to be a long, arduous journey
(I am just speaking truth as I see it)

I don’t pretend to understand the current state of our country…
honestly, I really didn’t understand it before November 8, 2016

on some level, I am not sure this outcome was that shocking…
we are quick to point out the toothpick sticking out of someone’s eye
and yet ignore the 2×4 swinging out of our own

from LGBTQ issues

to anti-abortion vs pro-choice
(‘cuz are we really talking about pro-life…?)


some of us kind of demanding that we have it all figured out
that we have, in fact, wrapped our heads around the “magic of Jesus”

do we really love each other?
can we say that we are “one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all?

“No human has ever been able to staunch the power of love.  Be good news.  Be a good neighbor.  Be kind and hopeful and generous.  Hug your babies and don’t let their fear find a permanent home.” – Jen Hatmaker

so, as morning has turned to evening
as tension and division and disgust and hatred
and jubilation and excitement and exuberance
are jockeying for the lead…
can we take a moment to
just breathe?

and that in our collective brokenness
we sit here

“Letting tears over all the fracturing of all of us be like water for broken places, letting it grow grace to love like Jesus, letting it be like a gentle balm to the raw questions, the bruised conversations…
Do not be afraid of broken things — this is where God is resurrecting new things.” – Ann Voskamp

maybe it’s time we changed the story…

Standing on a road I didn’t plan
Wondering how I got to where I am
I’m trying to hear that still small voice
I’m trying to hear above the noise – Need You Now, Plumb

grace….new every morning, including the morning after




reservations required


image found at culinariacookingschool.com

Tennant…party of 3, your family is now available

everything was finalized
the party was fantastic
breathing – especially exhaling – was finally happening
space was created
hearts were full
the family table was complete


July 16, 2015

the tablecloth was ripped from the neatly set table
sending plates
and plans
and expectations
and what had been prepared was now upside down
and dripping into puddles

another baby needed
hearts to love him
arms to hold him
and a family to secure him

not now
this wasn’t the plan
our table is complete and full

It’s not that I don’t trust, I just have a hard time seeing things your way” – The Ineloquent

upheaval again?
slogging through the system…
potential heartbreak

continuous sleepless nights
dirty diapers

2 babies
sibling rivalry
preserving and maintaining a marriage
still not getting  sleep

“It’s not that I don’t trust, I just have a hard time seeing things your way.”

“The minute we learned about you, our world was set on a tilt, and the path we’ve taken has not been ours.  God has arranged every detail, every choice, every moment to lead to…today.” – Kristine Tennant, a.k.a. Mommy

yes, they were many

but today…today the table was set
for 4
the silver was polished
the plates were shiny
the glasses sparkled
the tablecloth was creased just so
and spotless
there was no sign of
internal chaos
of upended plans and expectations

the reservation was called…
Tennant, party of 4…your family is now available.

welcome home, Isaiah Timothy, welcome home.

unreserved grace…

earlier bits

November 2016
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