Kids These Days

Have you ever looked at your kids’ baby pics and just felt so overwhelmed with love, that it felt like your heart could possibly explode? That’s what happened to me today and I cried. Call me crazy. Crazy in love with my dehzonas. They’ve been everything to me and Greg but it hasn’t always been that way.

Life before 2009 was a blur, and somehow, we managed to not mess up our kids. I owe a world of gratitude, a debt that I could never repay to my parents, especially my Mom, for helping raise them when we weren’t able. I’m not proud of the shit I’ve done nor can I take it back but they’ve been our everything since we got life on track and started to really live and be parents. It’s one thing to have kids, quite another to be a parent. Even today, I’m still learning to parent. Parents living beyond the “teens years” should be a medical miracle.

I got a photo of them today from my cousin who lived with us at the time who took the photo and just so happened the kids’ school photos were on the fridge so I placed the other along with it and my heart felt so overcome with love, gratitude and happiness that I get to see them every morning and wish them a good day at school and tell them I love them. Look at those kids!! Those smiles. Oh, my heart! Before, I wouldn’t see them for days and parts of me still feel deep shame for that. I’m sorry my kids.

I looked at the photos, then sat on the couch and cried. Even writing this, the tears well up. So many years taken from them and us, all because of alcohol and drugs. I hate those memories. They stole a mom and dad from their children. I think about my own parents, too, the struggles they faced became my life, too. I don’t blame them for my past. I had choices. I had to choose the right path for me and for our kids and eventually I did. I’m thankful every day.

Soon our son will be graduating and our baby girl the year after. We will have an empty nest and our kids will make their own ways. I trust Creator will guide them, as he’s guided us to today. It hasn’t always been easy but we’ve had each other and that’s the most important thing. I want my kids to know how much we love them, no matter where their lives take them, home and away, they will always come first. We love you so so much.

Kids these days make me a slobbering, emotional mess. I kind of wish they stayed small forever but then the world would never get to experience the great, helpful, smart, funny and adventurous dehzonas we brought into this world. Xo


Old Behaviors Die Hard

I woke to a bad dream at 4:00AM. I dreamt of the past, things that I’m not proud of and with that, the same feelings came rushing back which woke me up. It’s almost 8 and I still feel the feelings. Ugliness inside. Occasionally, I feel pangs of shame and regret of all the things I’ve done to the ones I love – mostly, Greg, our kids and my parents, who never gave up on me.

I am not sure if the dream has anything to do with me taking part in the Recovery Through Expressions program last night offered at FNFN, which I loved, by the way. I’m happy I went. Art is healing and peaceful, too. I’m really happy I got out of the house and did something I’ve never done – that’s twice in one week, might I add! Says a lot about my 2018 goals.

I went thinking it was about addiction and recovery and wasn’t sure how I felt about talking about addiction after all these years but soon realized it was not that at all. It was about whatever we wanted it to be. I felt like part of it was dealing with my Grandma’s passing and the whole grieving process but ended up sharing how I’ve been feeling lately and thinking about that old life. The life I used to love and live for. The life where I didn’t have to be responsible and could drown all my issues in alcohol and drugs.

You’re probably wondering what my pictures above mean. Well, so am I. The pretzel documented how I was feeling about being at the program, which sums it up pretty well. The middle photo was the outcome of the ‘recovery through expression’ piece and to sum up my piece, is the last image. I am happy I went. I got to talk and laugh with a fellow member who I don’t get to see that often and just take some Renee time. It was good. I look forward to more programs like that.

But, back to that dream. I am not sure what it all means but I do know it was a good reminder of why I chose sobriety. I hated myself in those dark days and some days, I still do. I’m still learning compassion, love and patience for myself. I know that was not the real me. The real me is the me you see today – learning, healing, growing. I’m really thankful for my family who loved me anyway and never gave up on me. That life is a part of who I am and that will never change but today, I’m happy that my old behaviours in that dream, were just that – a bad dream. I woke up sober, healthy, knew where I was, and got to see my kids before school. That is the life worth living.

Watching Shameless at 7:00AM probably doesn’t help improve the mood but that too, is a good reminder of why I’m grateful for today. Haha!

Bless you all on this beautiful winter day.


Monday Morning Feels

It’s Monday. I’ve been meaning to write on Sundays because it’s a “down day” whatever that means? I just like to make stuff up so it’s easier to procrastinate then I end up doing other things and realize it’ll have to wait until tomorrow so here I am, it’s ‘tomorrow’.

There’s been so much on my mind lately. Coming, going, being present, my future, self-worth and values, and, and, and. So it goes. Usually when I have those thoughts, my instinct is to write but then the filters in my head go off, and I get the “I’ll do it laters”. Then when I write, I don’t know where to start?! So many things in my head and heart.

Anyway, here I am. It’s Monday in case you missed that part. Who knows? Maybe you have a ‘case of the Mondays’. The puppies are asleep (must be nice), I’ve had my breakfast and coffee and shoveled snow. Being outside with the fresh air sure makes a difference in how I feel, it’s refreshing. It’s like when you realize that it’s all small stuff and you exhale the bullshit. Ahhhh!

What am I trying to say? I guess it’s just that I feel thankful for clarity. It hasn’t come easily but I’ve continued to do the work. I attend regular counseling because who couldn’t use a good bitch session? I smudge and pray. I seek out my supports for their feedback and try to talk my way through the hard stuff. I have a great support system. I mean, the best, you know lifers? Those people. They’re great. I highly suggest you seek out those people in your life, too. It’ll do wonders.

With clarity and I guess, age, I’m able to see things differently than I did 1, 2, even 5 years ago. With each death our community has suffered, I’ve come to appreciate life and genuineness. I don’t care for small, petty, dramatic stuff. Yes, I still get amped up about things that grind my gears, but usually after I’ve had time to reflect, I am quick to realize that it does NOT matter.

All that matters is my husband, kids, parents and how I make my way in this world. Am I hurtful to others? Am I being a leader for my kids? Am I setting healthy boundaries for myself? Am I helping or being kind because it’s the right thing to do or am I seeking some kind of reward? Is my ego in check? Why do I care about that or this and is it my business? Most of it is not my business. I better recognize!

All these things are constant work and with each passing day, I try to do better and be better and some days, I put it off until tomorrow. I owe it to my ancestors, kids and future grandkids to pave a good path for our future generations. Every day is an opportunity to do the right thing, be kind, helpful and loving, and when mistakes are made, admit my wrongdoing and apologize and move on. Let shit go. Nothing else matters but right now. All we have is this moment. Life is so short and I certainly do not want to spend my days amped up about things that are none of my business and seeking approval from external sources when all that matters is what I, my husband and kids think of me. Who the hell cares what “Jenny from the block” thinks of me? (I thought that sounded better than Jane or John Doe)

I have a good life. I have a roof over my head, food in my belly, clean water, a bed to sleep in, a loving family, three dogs, and CLARITY. More so than I’ve ever had in my life and for that, hell yeah! Forty-something is the new 20-something, I say! Haha. To end, I wish you a good and clear day. Focus north! (Only my close friends will get that last part and that’s ok.)

Peace! Blog to you soon.


Morning Thoughts & Birthday Blessings

Today my Grandma would have been 88. She went Home to be with the Creator on December 26, 2016. The heartache and memories around her loss are still fresh, especially on days like today.

A lot goes on when families lose someone; the various stages of grief, funeral preparations and the emotional trauma of ‘what’s next?’ How do we move forward while being held hostage by our emotions and grief? How does a family heal when people’s feelings get hurt over things said and done?

I think back to the days when we lost my her and how confusing and chaotic things became. Miraculously, I somehow held it together amid the turmoil but I had a job to do and that was my focus. My job was to memorialize her and through that I was able to grieve and focus on what was most important in that time – her, my Grandma, our family’s rock. All the noise and stuff that was not my business, didn’t matter.

Most recently, our family suffered through another loss and with that, came more turmoil. Again, I focused on my job at hand and the most important person through it all – my cousin. I didn’t attend his funeral, although I heard it was a beautiful service. In all the deaths I have experienced, whether they be family or friends, I have learned to grieve in my own way, staying focused on the important stuff, honoring the loved one with peace, humility and grace, and taking care of myself. We all grieve differently and to thine own self be true; we have to do what is right for us. Every time.

Am I rambling? Probably. I’ve been up since 1:45AM and couldn’t go back to sleep. It’s 5:45AM now. I’ve had a coffee, let the dogs out, have two puppies running amok and it’s dark as night out still. I just have so many thoughts in my head and heart that I needed to just write. It’s my therapy.

Ultimately, I wanted to honor my strong, loving, hard-working Grandma on what would have been her 88th birthday today. I could never have anticipated how much our family structure would change with her passing but I know I’m stronger and wiser because of it. I miss her greatly, as I know we all do. I used to wish that things were back to ‘normal’ but were things ever really normal to begin with? I don’t think so. They just were. That’s life. Now they’re different. Maybe they are normal after all?? Life is crazy and beautiful in all its glory.

All I know for certain in this moment is that she’s with me in spirit. In her honor, I will practice love and kindness because that is what my Grandma exemplified every day. Happy heavenly birthday, Grandma. God bless you forever. We love and miss you.


Grandma and me at the Behn family cabin
Grandma, me and Grandpa – Keeping It Behn!
3 Generations – Grandma, Mom and Me
Our last family dinner with Grandma – thankful for memories!

A Shitty Start

IMG_7512Well, 2018 has proved to be off to a shitty start. There’s been losses of loved ones for my family and that of friends’. There’s so much heartache and grief in our lives that it’s hard to see beyond the pain. How do we go on living a life of health and happiness when we experience so much grief, sadness, pain and heartache?

I don’t know the answers. Is there a right answer? How do we help those who suffer endless pain and loss? What is the right way? Is there a right way? So many questions, so little answers. All I know is that I’ve come to the conclusion for me. I have to say good-bye in my own way. Grieve in my own way and participate in my way. I can’t attend another funeral. I can’t. I’m tired of death. There’s so much of it.

I sat here this morning thinking about all that’s happened in this first week; it’s been the start of a new year which is supposed to be celebrated with hope and rejuvenation, yet I worked on a memorial for a family member and held a friends’ hand as she cried for the loss of her young son, all while I celebrated our daughter’s sixteenth birthday and an important milestone in her life, getting her learner’s license. All this in one day. ONE DAY!

I’ve lost count of the funeral’s I’ve attended and the memorial’s I’ve made to honour the life of loved ones in my years. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve cried because of death. Death has become normal, numbing and expected. It’s madness. Yet, here I am. Alive and well. I have much to be thankful for. I am thankful I can see the light of day, see my kids another day and hug my family one more time. Not everyone can say that and for that, my heart hurts for my friends and community. I question what is going on, why is this happening, why them, why us, why, why, why? I don’t know the answers but I believe in a higher power and that when it’s our time, it’s our time. Someone in heaven needed the departed more and that somehow, the living, will heal with time. Through pain, heartache, time and prayers, healing will come. This I believe to be true.

I hope that those hurting today, including my family, find peace and healing. I fully acknowledge that it won’t come easily, or quickly, but with time and patience, broken hearts will heal, even though, it may feel like that will never happen. I pray for our departed loved ones who went before us. As much as we wanted you to stay, you had a higher purpose in Heaven and for that, we had to let you go.

As crappy as the start of 2018 has been, there’s also been good things, too. As I said, our daughter celebrated her sweet 16th birthday, got her learner’s license, our son’s grad photo proofs came in, I booked tickets to see Tony Robbins in March with my mentor and aunt, and I’ve been busy with not one, but TWO, new puppies who make me crazy and happy at the same time. I have not given up hope that 2018 is going to be great and better than last year, albeit the shitty start. I am hopeful. Full of hope. Full of love for life, my family, friends and community. Bless us all. Together we can get through anything, including all the pain that’s before us, in this moment. Healing will come.



“It is kind of shocking when your world falls to pieces and everything and everyone around you carries on with life. How can the birds continue to sing? How can people carry on loving life? It is like you become frozen in time and are now watching life like a movie. As the weeks and months roll by, life becomes more real again, but you will never forget that point in time where life stood still.” – Zoe Clark-Coates, from


I love you, Gregory, Ashton and Danielle. Forever and always.

It’s 2018!

It’s 2018! Hello, new year and new beginnings! I’m so happy to see you.

I don’t want to start my new year by dwelling on the past but 2017 was something else, I tell ya. Wow. That. Is. All. Good bye!

What’s so great about 2018? Well, for one, I have my voice, freedom and health back. My health took a beating but I’m definitely better than I was so 2018 is off to a great start already. Secondly, there are no limits to what I can do. I’m open to what the universe will provide and so I’m getting out of my own way and going to be present, with my eyes and heart wide open!

Let’s sparkle this place up! I’m excited and I hope you are, too. Life is short, be kind, live large and love plenty.