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the beginning of jenny lou writes

"look at its shape, with vibrant yellow and oranges, a sunflower can brighten your day... its as if it is smiling like a happy face painted on the sun... so if you do only one thing all day, let it be to smile, so you can brighten the day of others around you, just like the sunflower" - Bodhi Smith

One year ago- Aug 7, 2022 my life changed forever and all in a matter of seconds. I was riding through Sacramento on a scooter, laughing and joking with one of my best friends like we had done so many times before. My friend and I would joke about being "Pro-Scootie" riders because we loved them so much. Bran and I used to say how it was a gas bill in our house because we literally rode them everywhere. I even had a Sacramento Scootie tour I would give my friends and family when they would come visit. They were electric- literally and figuratively haha. Cruising through the city streets, wind rushing through your hair on two wheels. You can't help but smile as you are overcome by this rush of freedom. At the low price of 99 cents a minute!

I remember telling one of my friends how much fun they were and how he should come join us! He would say be careful, those things are so dangerous... after he would procede to tell me how his friend broke his shoulder on one of them and how another friend broke (as he'd trail on).... I would laugh and say you just gotta be an athlete, but little did I know not even being an athlete mattered. When you are cruising those city streets, it didn't matter how much of an athlete you were. A dark, dim lit street in the middle of the night that flows into a train track road with a curb only in the right lane and not the left can fool even the best;) Implying I'm the best haha. Especially when you are looking left and talking to your friend, your periphal vision will struggle to pick up the dark curb that is only in your lane. And that right there is exactly how I found myself in that position. One minute I was looking left laughing to my friend saying "I'll race you home" and the next minute I was sitting up on the curb with my face in my hands wondering what just happened.

Aug 7, 2022 is the day I am thankful that I sat up not paralyzed, not brain dead and still able to think and talk like me and in that very moment my healing journey began. I got put in an ambulance and they transferred me to the UC Davis trauma unit. They rolled me in on the gourney and did I guess what every trauma unit does. A very in depth, quick intake. They warned me it would be uncomfortable and that it would feel overwhelming.. it did. I laid on the gurney surrounded by doctors on every side. They poked me, moved me and asked what hurt and in the span of probably 2 minutes. I'm pretty sure there was 5 different doctors looking over me and after that I settled into my room where I would spend the next 3 days running scans, taking tests, doctors cleaning my wounds 2 times daily and awaiting my surgery.

It's incredible how in the moment, when you are in survival mode how little anything else matters. I could have easily died and snapped my neck. I hit a curb completely perpindulcar at 15 mph and didn't even break my fall..because I didn't see it. 15mph to 0 and all that stopped me was my face. No burising or scratches on my hands or feet. Nothing, except my face. I broke my le fort (the bone from the left side of you face to the right side- they could literally just move my upper pallet of teeth around because nothing connected them). I broke my nose, three teeth and ripped my left nostril, upper and lower lip pretty much clear in half. There was also a nice dime sized hole above my upper lip where my lip had torn from my bottom teeth going through them. The surgeons carefully stitched my face back together. It took about 40 stitches straight up the face. From lower lip to the top of my nose and I squeezed my husbands hand through the worst pain in my life. Lip stitching is no joke. They did their best to realign the broken bones in my face with 4 metal plates and after that surgery I had my mouth wired shut for 6 weeks. (using a syringe to eat for the first week and after that carefully using a straw or spoon to get soft food/ smoothies in my mouth past my wires). I lost 10 lbs in 6 weeks and had one of the greatest communities I’ve ever known surround me, but it was tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Aug 7th Jen was gone. Aug 8th Jen was going to have to learn to live again.

To say it's been an easy journey would be lying, it hasn't. I've tried to stay positive and appreciate the people that so quickly circled me. For the first month, there wasn't a day that passed without a friend or family member coming over to visit. I realize how incredibly lucky I am for that. Yet, there was not only a ton of emotions to shift through, but not even a familiar face to look at in the mirror to tell myself I got this. I didn't know how it would heal or what I would look there I was just stuck in the moment, stuck with what is. Waiting on time. Time to heal, time to bring answers, time to smile once again. I felt every emotion out there. I was overwhelmed with gratitude, pain, love, hurt, frusturation, tiredness, joy, laughter, peace, fear. I didn't know how to process it all. I went to 2 different therapists, but couldn't find what I was looking for until I bought a journal. This journal is where I learned to process my emotions, write out my feelings and understand my pain. Understand me. So through this blog I will release my writings and I hope in some small way, it helps someone out there too. Life can be incredibly beautiful, difficult, challenging, and at the same time beautiful and life giving. Just know we are never alone.

I plan on releasing the entirety of #whenwebreak as a poetry book by the end of 2023

thank you so much for being here

"Sunflowers end up facing the sun, but they go through a lot of dirt to find their way there" - J.R. Rim


First, I want to dedicate this blog to my husband, my anam cara. He calls me Jenny Lou (hence the title of the blog) and we have been navigating this life together for nearly a decade. You have pushed me to grow in more ways than I can list and you have held my hand in the moments of my greatest joy and greatest pain. I feel like we have lived 5 lives alone in the span of these 10 years together. Going from U-2 crew chiefs, to helicopter pilots, to college graduates, to Air Force C-17 pilots- all hand in hand. We have been to 50 states and 13 countries. We have lived the van life for 5 months and we became full-time RVers for 2 1/2 years. From running the original marathon in Greece to back country skiing Mt Shasta. I got to cheer you on as you finished your first 50 mile run through Marin Headlands and we both led as raft guides down the Colorado River for 7 days/ 6 nights and so much more. You have believed in me when your grace was more than I could ask for and you have supported me on ventures with no definite ending. You have helped me climb mountains physically and mentally and in total I am a much better person for it. I love laughing with you, being silly and just enjoying the little moments of life together- like sitting in the park with our girls or the simplicity of making chocolate chip pancakes on slow Sundays. We have had our fair share of pain and hurt and at the end of the day, we have grown from kids to adults, side by side. We have always worked hard to find our way back to one another. You are my favorite person Brandon Michael Ruth. I have loved you since the day I met you and I will continue to love you until the day that I die. Here is to many more years of growing together, enjoying beautiful moments and the not so beautiful ones too. Here is to always choosing you because there is no me without you.

Secondly, this blog is dedicated to myself. I am incredibly proud of myself for continuing to try to find the light even when it felt so dark. This pain has led me to the greatest love I’ve ever known, but to also my darkest moments. I have gone on one of the most challenging, growth inspiring journeys. Realizing how important every moment is and preserving my energy for those closest to me. This journey for me is far from over and I am still growing and learning to love myself through this process. Being patient and kind to myself. I've got this.

Anam Cara, is a Celtic philosophy and Irish belief that two souls that experience a unique and deeply personal connection will be stronger together than they are apart

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hi friend, thanks for stopping by!

I'm Jen. My husband calls me Jenny Lou, that's where the blog name comes from:) I am a cargo pilot in the Air Force and in my free time I love to create, write and be with my girls & people.

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