Tag Archives: Bouncing Back after Trauma

Mayonnaise Jar & Coffee-By Danee Kiernan of Bouncing with Style: Starting Over but Not From Scratch

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Danee Kiernan

By Danee Kiernan     

 Life is Almost Always Good and co-author of Bouncing with Style #40

I cannot take credit for this story, but I would like to share it.

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the coffee…

 A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

 The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.”

 The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

 “Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.”

 

The golf balls are the important things-your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions, your faith – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car.

The sand is everything else-the small stuff.

If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

 Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of cups of coffee with a friend.”

 

Danee Kiernan is a writer, parent, entrepreneur and co-author of Bouncing with Style: Starting over but Not From Scratch.  She connects with others based on her experiences as a full time woman, full time mom (adoptive, birth & foster), stay at home mom, working woman and business owner.  She hopes that sharing her experiences openly will help others to find their bounce.  Danee is a powerful advocate for women’s rights, especially every woman’s right to choose her own destiny and build the life that she desires.

Danee KIernan earned a BS degree in Elementary Education with an early childhood specialization from Iowa Wesleyan College and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Danee believes in the importance of love, family and pursuing dreams.   She makes her home in Wisconsin, where she and husband Jim, are thoroughly enjoying the experience of raising their 11 children. 

You can reach Danee Kiernan at daneekiernan@gmail.com

Reality Sucks-By Danee Kiernan of Bouncing with Style: Starting Over but Not From Scratch

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Danee Kiernan

By Danee Kiernan      

Life is Almost Always Good and co-author of Bouncing with Style #39

Like most people who watch the news, I have been following coverage of the Trayvon Martin story, the young teen inFloridawho was followed, shot and killed while walking home.

Reactions are emotional, strong and varied and everyone seems to have something to say. 

I am white.  As far as I know, I have never been racially profiled in a department store, at the airport or walking through a neighborhood.  I have not been the target of racist comments and honestly, I don’t think much about my skin color on a daily basis. 

My oldest son has an olive complexion, black hair and dark brown eyes.  He has broad shoulders and stands about 6’2”.  He is a professional and he travels on business… a lot…. 

EVERY time he goes through security at the airport, he is stopped, taken aside and searched.  At first we thought it was coincidence, but it never stopped and still continues today.  My son’s skin color results in additional security checks (I am assuming it’s not his suit or laptop).  

My daughters are Mayan and have brown skin and jet black hair.  Out in public, we have received the following comments from people who feel it is their right to comment about my children …… “What are they?”…..”What are they mixed with?”…”Are those immigrants here legally?”….”They can’t be your daughters, you’re white”….. 

My preschool son is Native American and African American.  He has brown skin, curly black hair and is completely adorable.  In public so far, people have been kind with their comments…..”He’s so cute”…..”What a handsome little boy”…..”I love his hair”…Some people, however, are less friendly.  They look and turn away uncomfortably or stare as we walk by.  I often wonder what they are thinking, but in general have the feeling that it’s not good ……

I watched the news again tonight and saw a young boy’s shocked and grieving parents.  I heard their sadness.  I felt their overwhelming pain in my heart and I went to bed with the awful realization that I am the parent of children who face the reality daily that they will be profiled, commented about and possibly murdered simply because of the color of their skin. 

Reality sucks.

Danee Kiernan is a writer, parent, entrepreneur and co-author of Bouncing with Style: Starting over but Not From Scratch.  She connects with others based on her experiences as a full time woman, full time mom (adoptive, birth & foster), stay at home mom, working woman and business owner.  She hopes that sharing her experiences openly will help others to find their bounce.  Danee is a powerful advocate for women’s rights, especially every woman’s right to choose her own destiny and build the life that she desires.

Danee Kiernan earned a BS degree in Elementary Education with an early childhood specialization from Iowa Wesleyan College and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Danee believes in the importance of love, family and pursuing dreams.   She makes her home in Wisconsin, where she and husband Jim, are thoroughly enjoying the experience of raising their 11 children. 

You can reach Danee Kiernan at daneekiernan@gmail.com

Womanhood-By Danee Kiernan of Bouncing with Style: Starting Over but Not From Scratch

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Danee Kiernan

By Danee Kiernan     

 Life is Almost Always Good and co-author of Bouncing with Style #38

 

In the past week I have heard the stories and experiences of some women…..Some that I’ve known for years and some that are new to my circle of friendship.  I am humbled and in awe of what people are going through in their lives and their ability to regain their footing and bounce back……Amazing.

A woman is in the middle of a divorce and custody battle.  She was married for 6 years. Her husband, it turns out, is a compulsive liar who in the six years of their marriage managed to deplete their joint savings, partake in multiple affairs (while his wife was pregnant), fathered a child with another woman (denying paternity and any involvement in the child’s life even after DNA proof) and actively engaged in addictive behaviors.  They have one son who has been diagnosed with Aspergers.

A woman has two children and is happily married.  This woman has dreamed for years to have children and be a stay at home Mom……She confides over lunch that she is bitter and angry mother who resents her children and how they have drastically changed her life.  Her babies are 2 & 4.  She is tired and longs for a time when she can meet her own needs, have fun and not be responsible for anyone else.  She loves her children and has incredible guilt over the fact that she feels this way.  She secretly admits that she is especially hard on her oldest because he was her first, and the one who took her freedom from her.  She longs for the day when her children are grown and she and her husband can escape to a time that she knew and loved before kids.

A woman has been a stay at home Mom and raised her two sons, now in their early 20’s.  Her husband travels for work and has been on the road for much of their life together.  Her sons live at home…And are, for the most part, unemployed.  This friend has recently been diagnosed with Lupus.  During a phone call this week she told me that one of her boys is struggling with drug and alcohol addictions.  She told me that her son has openly hated her since high school and now has been stealing her car to go out drinking at night.  He is, she said, a mean drunk.  Her husband, who has provided little emotional or parenting support to her during the raising of their children, is no different now.  From the road, he shares his opinion about all that she could be doing better.  He blames her for their family’s state of affairs.  She is contemplating divorce, but feeling trapped, is frozen in fear of taking the first step.

A woman in her 50’s relinquished her daughter for adoption 34 years ago.  A few years ago, the daughter searched and found her biological mother.  Their reunion has been rocky and filled with raw emotion, rejection, anger, sadness, love and questions.  Since choosing adoption for her infant daughter, this woman has gotten married and had another child, a daughter, who is now 15.  Each day is a step toward the future…..An uneasy road of relationship building filled with hurt, sadness, guilt and hope.  This woman does not regret her decision so long ago to not parent her child.  She was too young and not able to be the parent she wanted for her baby.  Her daughter’s adoptive Mom was nervous felt very vulnerable about inviting this woman into their lives.  Would her daughter love her biological Mom more?  Would she lose her daughter to this stranger who had chosen adoption for her child so many years ago?  The adoptive Mother never told her daughter that she had been adopted.  She thought that she would never find out. But, of course she did……And just as these three women were beginning to piece together their lives and move forward in their new roles, the adoptive mother passed away suddenly on Saturday.  What a spiral of craziness……a tangle of paths…..an interruption of a fragile, blossoming relationship trio.  Another life altering loss in a circle of women who are clinging to one another and trying to find their way on this emotional journey of motherhood and daughterhood together.

A woman has worked her entire life to start her own business.  She is in her 40’s and has chosen to remain single over being married, healthy lifestyle over unhealthy, career over relaxation and saving money over spending……This woman has worked hard forever and a few years ago, finally realized her dream of starting her business.  A few months into her business start up, this woman became ill and was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis.  Today, she relies on others to slap her back to help her lungs clear so she can breathe.  She relies on government insurance to go to the doctor.  She relies on medications to keep her alive. She relies on her inner strength to wake up and get out of bed in the morning. She bounces to not give up.  She says that she has worked too hard to give up now.

I am humbled and in awe of what people are going through in their lives and their ability to regain their footing and bounce back……Amazing.   Share a kind word, a hug and hope.  Reach out to those in your circle and beyond.

 

Danee Kiernan is a writer, parent, entrepreneur and co-author of Bouncing with Style: Starting over but Not From Scratch.  She connects with others based on her experiences as a full time woman, full time mom (adoptive, birth & foster), stay at home mom, working woman and business owner.  She hopes that sharing her experiences openly will help others to find their bounce.  Danee is a powerful advocate for women’s rights, especially every woman’s right to choose her own destiny and build the life that she desires.

Danee KIernan earned a BS degree in Elementary Education with an early childhood specialization from Iowa Wesleyan College, and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Danee believes in the importance of love, family and pursuing dreams.   She makes her home in Wisconsin, where she and husband Jim, are thoroughly enjoying the experience of raising their 11 children. 

You can reach Danee Kiernan at daneekiernan@gmail.com

Running on Empty-By Danee Kiernan of Bouncing with Style: Starting Over but Not From Scratch

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Danee Kiernan

By Danee Kiernan      

Life is Almost Always Good and co-author of Bouncing with Style. #37 

I had just finished co hosting a show on Motherhood Talk Radio with Sandra Beck, my partner in crime and co-author of Bouncing with Style, when I passed by the mirror and saw my reflection. 

It was late in the afternoon, I was low energy, low makeup and pretty lame looking in my sweatpants and baby food stained t-shirt.  I had been feeling down and was becoming really consistent and harsh in my negative self talk……  I could tell I was slipping.

 And what made it worse was I felt like a total fake talking about bouncing back with style……When I was obviously in dire need of bouncing assistance myself.

I muddled my way through the rest of the afternoon and evening with my high energy brood that includes a barking dog, barking husband,  seven at home kids and a recruiting business……Life just doesn’t really stop around here….And it really doesn’t stop when I am falling down….It just gets worse.

My kids can sense when I’m wearing down…They get more energized and demanding…..My husband gets short tempered…..The dog even slips….He steals food off the kitchen table, chases the cat mercilessly and trips me every time I turn around…..

My face, my voice, my words become strained and they all signal trouble….

Do you know what I mean?

Later that evening, after everyone was in bed for the night, I sat in the dark on the couch.  I wanted quiet.  I needed total darkness, ear splitting silence and some feeling of peace.  I needed to hear myself think. 

Once it was quiet, I began to remember my coping strategies…..My steps to bouncing.

I know that for myself, first I make it through the crisis, event or exhaustion and then need some time to be alone.  Being alone helps me to focus and refocus. 

Reviewing the current state of things helps me to pinpoint where things are out of control and why I am feeling overwhelmed.

Thinking about what I’m feeling and letting these emotions come to the surface helps me as well.  I don’t solve, analyze or judge my feelings (whose got the energy?).  I just feel them.

After these few self nurturing steps, I started to feel better. 

I’m not saying that I hopped off of the couch and danced a jig, I simply sat……But I could feel the quiet calm begin to seep into my soul.  I could feel some of the day’s stress ease a bit and I could also feel some of my inner strength making a comeback.

I went to bed that night reminding myself that we are all a work in process.   We are not perfect people who can constantly live up to expectations.  We are human.  We are people with real life challenges and roadblocks.  We are people with relentless responsibilities.  People with feelings. People with limited ability to keep going nonstop. We are people who stumble and fall.

Be kind to yourself.  Take the time you need to refocus and renew.  Be your own best friend.

Remember always that you are the driver on this road trip of life……Enjoy the journey.

Danee Kiernan is a writer, parent, entrepreneur and co-author of Bouncing with Style: Starting over but Not From Scratch.  She connects with others based on her experiences as a full time woman, full time mom (adoptive, birth & foster), stay at home mom, working woman and business owner.  She hopes that sharing her experiences openly will help others to find their bounce.  Danee is a powerful advocate for women’s rights, especially every woman’s right to choose her own destiny and build the life that she desires.

Danee KIernan earned a BS degree in Elementary Education with an early childhood specialization from Iowa Wesleyan College and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Danee believes in the importance of love, family and pursuing dreams.   She makes her home in Wisconsin, where she and husband Jim, are thoroughly enjoying the experience of raising their 11 children. 

You can reach Danee Kiernan at daneekiernan@gmail.com

No Regrets -By Danee Kiernan of Bouncing with Style: Starting Over but Not From Scratch

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Danee Kiernan

By Danee Kiernan

Life is Almost Always Good and co-author of Bouncing with Style #36

I remember when my Mom was in hospice, in the last few weeks of her life, a hospice volunteer spent the afternoon with her talking. They talked about life…About my Mom’s life…..They talked about what was done, and what was going to be left undone. 

My Mom really enjoyed that afternoon with the volunteer.  For hours they talked.  Mom shared memories of her childhood.  She had loving parents & eight siblings. Mom was the mother of three and grandmother of 15.  She was, at different times of her life, a single woman, a party girl, a single mother, a married woman, a divorced woman and a career woman….She was also a working mother well before “working mother” became a buzz term….

Mom always wanted to travel and so she did…..She traveled theUSand then outside the country. She had the opportunity to visitEngland,Italy,IrelandandGuatemala.  Mom followed her passions, volunteered to help others and was a good friend.  Mom read voraciously.  She had a boyfriend (“her fella”) while in her 70’s and up until she got cancer, worked two jobs and volunteered at a local hospital.  I listened as my Mom shared her memories with me.  It was clear….She had no regrets….She felt at peace.

I could tell Mom was proud of her life and how she had lived it. 

I am proud too.

Danee Kiernan is a writer, parent, entrepreneur and co-author of Bouncing with Style: Starting over but Not From Scratch.  She connects with others based on her experiences as a full time woman, full time mom (adoptive, birth & foster), stay at home mom, working woman and business owner.  She hopes that sharing her experiences openly will help others to find their bounce.  Danee is a powerful advocate for women’s rights, especially every woman’s right to choose her own destiny and build the life that she desires.

Danee KIernan earned a BS degree in Elementary Education with an early childhood specialization from Iowa Wesleyan College and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Danee believes in the importance of love, family and pursuing dreams.   She makes her home in Wisconsin, where she and husband Jim, are thoroughly enjoying the experience of raising their 11 children. 

You can reach Danee Kiernan at daneekiernan@gmail.com

This Is Your Life – By Danee Kiernan of Bouncing with Style: Starting Over but Not From Scratch

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Danee Kiernan

By Danee Kiernan

Life is Almost Always Good and co-author of Bouncing with Style #35

I have always been a bit of a doer.

This is neither a good nor a bad thing, it just is.

I like to keep busy….I always have a lot going on. 

I prefer craziness. A fast pace.  Ups and downs.

Challenges.

I like projects to complete, goals to achieve and skills to master…..It’s my comfort zone.

I can’t shake the voice that echoes in my heart….Time is limited…We only get one life….One life to make a difference…One life to do the things we want to do….

Why wait????

My list is has always been and still is ongoing…..

Go back to school…Write a book…Raise children…..Refurbish an older house….Travel the world…Plant an amazing garden….Bike ride across the country….etc etc

Ultimately, when I leave this world I want to do it exhausted and fulfilled…..With no regrets. 

I have had my share of doubts, fear, pain, exhaustion, happiness and fulfillment.

Life is a gift.  And it’s all mine.  It’s all yours too……

Embrace yourself and your life. Make it what you need and all that you want it to be. 

Danee Kiernan is a writer, parent, entrepreneur and co-author of Bouncing with Style: Starting over but Not From Scratch.  She connects with others based on her experiences as a full time woman, full time mom (adoptive, birth & foster), stay at home mom, working woman and business owner.  She hopes that sharing her experiences openly will help others to find their bounce.  Danee is a powerful advocate for women’s rights, especially every woman’s right to choose her own destiny and build the life that she desires.

Danee KIernan earned a BS degree in Elementary Education with an early childhood specialization from Iowa Wesleyan College and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Danee believes in the importance of love, family and pursuing dreams.   She makes her home in Wisconsin, where she and husband Jim, are thoroughly enjoying the experience of raising their 11 children. 

You can reach Danee Kiernan at daneekiernan@gmail.com

Somebody Somewhere- By Danee Kiernan of Bouncing with Style: Starting Over but Not From Scratch

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Danee Kiernan

By Danee Kiernan

Life is Almost Always Good and co-author of Bouncing with Style #34

A friend shared this with me……It spoke to me.

Tonight, I rock a baby who is not mine.

I snuggle her close and look into her eyes. I kiss her forehead and rub her back just as if she were mine. I cuddle her tightly and I tuck her in as if she were mine.

But she’s not.

When people learn that we are fostering in the midst of our 2 parent, 11 kids, 1 dog, 2 cat chaos, they shake their heads and softly say.  “Don’t you already have your hands full?”

Yes.  My hands are full.  My heart is full.  My life is full.

Somebody somewhere did it for me.

My babies grew in somebody else’s womb.  Somebody else carried my babies and labored to bring them into this world.

My children did not survive on their own.

Even though I am the one so fortunate to parent my children, to love them and teach them about warm beds, filling meals, bear hugs & big kisses, somebody, somewhere did it before me.

Somebody somewhere held. Somebody somewhere fed.  Somebody somewhere cared.

I am so grateful to those who cared for my children and now it is my turn to do the same for another parent who can’t.

Somebody somewhere did it for me and now I can’t imagine my life any other way.

 

Danee Kiernan is a writer, parent, entrepreneur and co-author of Bouncing with Style: Starting over but Not From Scratch.  She connects with others based on her experiences as a full time woman, full time mom (adoptive, birth & foster), stay at home mom, working woman and business owner.  She hopes that sharing her experiences openly will help others to find their bounce.  Danee is a powerful advocate for women’s rights, especially every woman’s right to choose her own destiny and build the life that she desires.

Danee KIernan earned a BS degree in Elementary Education with an early childhood specialization from Iowa Wesleyan College and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Danee believes in the importance of love, family and pursuing dreams.   She makes her home in Wisconsin, where she and husband Jim, are thoroughly enjoying the experience of raising their 11 children. 

You can reach Danee Kiernan at daneekiernan@gmail.com