I’ve Died a Thousand Deaths

It’s a coffee flavored Bailey’s kind of morning ❤️

Every Sunday when my kids are at my house, I make a big family breakfast and we go to church and after my kids go to their dads for a week. Many times our schedule runs off course much like this week due to business travel and such, so we adjust accordingly. This week I get to keep them as their dad is away on business and personal commitments. It has never been an issue. He adjusts where he can, and I for him. There’s no lawyers involved and no email tracked communication with strict timetables required. What a nightmare that would be, we would both break them.

This morning I was able to reflect on some thoughts regarding the current trend of phrases and actions concerning “feelings.” I think of the “feelings” vs the hard “heart” work it has taken for both Tyler and I, to not carry the emotional baggage of being parents who hate each other and use the children as our fuel, and I am grateful.

Choosing to do what is right is most often the the easiest route and more often the hardest one of all. It’ll test every faculty of your being most often resulting in a change in your frame of mind, empowering the wisdom obtained through it all.

Over the past eight years, I’ve experienced A LOT of “feelings” and sometimes I gave into them. I can remember a specific time that I won’t go into detail, but by societies standards, I would be given the “green light” justifing my actions made soley upon my immediate feelings in the moment.

I believe the phone call went like this:


Again, there are those feelings.

With 20/20 hindsight, I know these stories have proven to be somewhat funny as I have thought about writing about them. Most of my dearest friends have seen me in this rage and have been an eye witness to my determined problem solving skills. One day I’ll find a way to tell my stories respectfully in regards to the other party as most would be considered humourous and slanted more negatively on my personality. I have had people crying in laughter as I tell my stories and my obsurdity.

How did I not loose myself to my emotions and not end up in jail? Well….

Most times and most definitely this time mentioned above, I would go to my thinking spot (Saskatoon Mountain) to be still and let my emotions run wild so that I might find clarity. I spent time alone with no distractions. Often, well most times, I would sob out my prayers and unload it on God.

Feelings require self discipline in order to experience or empower their reason. My feelings are not my truth. My feelings give me understanding of how an event has effected me in the moment so that I can have a voice in my impending decisions. This battle is often referenced in regards to external self expression within relationships as the battle of the sexes. Men are typically known for being guided by logic and reason and women by emotions and intuition. One is not better than another. In the words of Jerry McGuire “they complete” me. Just as I need discipline to guide my emotions as do men who refuse to find value in the gift of emotion, relationally speaking. I am not refering to work or situations or events where the gift of critical logic removed from emotion is required, nor vice versa where empathy and emotional connection are needed. Nor am I generalizing the gifts by determining them to a specfic sex of a person. I happen to know a man who would be considered far more emotionally considerate than I am, and in some ways more sensitive, but it depends on the topic and the situation. I’ll leave that story for another time and another place, maybe.

Back on track…

I’ve learned the hard way that my feelings are not my north star upon which I direct my path for they are fleeting – here today and gone tomorrow. Just as our bodies require discipline so do our minds, our thoughts, our emotions and our spirit.

Those who grasp this concept go extraordinaringly far in life. Their journies of life lessons are celebrated in the books we read and movies we watch at the box office.

Whenever I find myself starting my sentences off with “I feel like I need…..” I’m compelled to immediately stop myself, smile at my own irony, correct my speech and just do whatever it takes to make whatever needs to happen, happen. My actions are not determined by my feelings, my feelings are determined by my actions. This idea of actions based on feelings is a taught discipline. It has been cultivated by culture and lack of discipline and now plagues even our everyday speech patterns and the resulting emotional choas is spiritually draining. We make decisions based on our definition of happiness in the moment. Again, happiness is fleeting.

To be dicsiplined in this arena is a strength I have to work on as it does not come naturally to me. Often I’ve struggled with my failures. I wandered far too long in my own pity parties, but somehow God meets me where I’m at and reminds me how I am loved. I have failed pretty big, many times. I think because of those failures my line-in-the-sand now has become a trench.

I have a zero tolerance for different areas in my life. If I am to proceed down this path with another, then A+B must = C or I won’t go.

I am by general definition a “passionate” person to either extreme. It’s a blessing and a curse. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again because it was probably one of the best compliments ever given to me and yet the most sobering. I’ve once had a man sum me up after having dated for a short period of time. We didn’t last long not because of feelings but because what was right. I’ve mentioned him before but the details I’ll keep to myself. Don’t make assumptions as no matter what you’ll be way off the mark.

His words were:

“The best thing about you and what attracts people to you is that you are Bat Shit Crazy. Every man who is a real man, will love that about you. But your biggest enemy is the fact that you are Bat Shit Crazy. Stubborn as F@ck. And whoever you find will need to be able to match your wit, your strength of character and your physical ability. He will need to be strong willed and soft to let you be the princess you want to be. But in those moments when he sees the need to step in and balance things out, he will need to have the respect he deserves and you let him do what he does best. Anything less, will fail.”

Again, enter feelings. And again, there are the facts.

Those people I am to hold myself accountable to, are not to be “yes” friends, but rather those who are able listen with understanding the why’s of my feelings, weight my circumstance, and able to sift through my emotions. Most times in the heat of the moment, I don’t like what they say AT ALL.

My feelings begin to march in pride. But I can not deny the facts.

Looking back, had I acted on my feelings, my kid’s father would have died a 1000 deaths and I would have felt satisfaction for but a moment followed by a lifetime of regret. 😒🤦🤣🤷 Even though by today’s cultural standard, I would have been found not guilty. But the same could be held true vice versa.

Through this process, I am reminded of what it means to forgive 70×7 as I work through my emotions and ultimately heal. Far too many look to bandaids and soothing techniques to avoid the pain of a process. Sometimes it’s nessecary for a time being in order to heal enough to cycle through another layer. But it’s only for a time, those who don’t, typically make up the member base of applications like Tinder and POF. …. There’s a little dry sarcasm for you. 😒

In end, my ultimate goal is to able to look back on my experiences, sigh for a moment, and then smile with a wisdom known that can be passed on to another when they are in need of a true friend. Feelings can be a true indicator but they can also be dangerous. Feelings left undealt with are time bombs waiting to happend.

Take care of your baggage. Everyone has it. Just fold that crap before you mix in another load of laundry and die another death.

****No Jeeps were keyed in the making of this story or any other story****


The Gut Button


For this month’s writing topic, I am to write about anything related to the words “hair raising.” It doesn’t take me long to find my subject as immediately two things come to mind that are within the last decade of my memory bank.

Hair Raising

Twice I have felt “hair raising” fear.

You know the kind. Where the air gets thick, time slows down, your deathly silent, your heart echos in your ear and those little tingly hairs on the back of your neck raise. Your fight or flight button knows it’s about to be pressed. I heard if you take an emotion and tie it to an event, it burns in your memory. Well this charred.

This is my account of one of those experiences.

To start off, no physical harm took place.  In fact it wasn’t long ago at the supper table that my daughter brought up the memory – but for a different reason, travel sickness – a different gut button. We were talking about what it means to have a “gut” feeling or what intuition meant. So I elaborated on her story.

WHEN: June, 2011.

WHERE: Sea-To-Sky Highway. Just west of Lillooet, BC on our way to Whistler, BC for my son’s Canada West’s Spring Hockey Finals.

I can’t present factual recordable evidence on how I can be sure of what I experienced and how it had any bearing on reality – only by that of my “gut” feeling and from what I observed.  Something was “off” about the other’s demeanour.  Their body language and the situation didn’t add up. I knew deep in my bones that we were in danger by another human being. In fact, I ended up reporting it to the police at a time when I was able.

As to the first story, I’ll try to explain the scenario the best that I can.  Maybe its something that you had to be there to experience but I can fully assure you that these events are burned into my memory and I can still “see” it vividly simply because of the response it envoked within me.  The memory is not vague nor delusions nor moments of emotional irrationality. It was as if someone flicked a “sixth sense” switch on within me. I remember how their eyes stared straight at me, unblinking and intense, as they were assessing the situation themselves.

It was June 2011 and we were travelling from Edmonton AB to Whistler BC for my son’s last hockey tournament.  At the time he was playing for CANWEST Hockey Club based out of Edmonton and we were going to one last season ending tournament.  While most flew and then drove via Vancouver up the coast onto Whistler, we decided to take the Sea-to-Sky highway that cut SW from Cache Creek onto a little town called Lilloeet, and then continue on through to Whistler.

The drive was beautiful and the scenery was like nothing I’d seen before.  The road from Cache Creek to Lilloeet was curvy and steep  as it snaked its way towards the massive coastal mountains.  My ex husband was loving it as it proved to inspire a personal challenge as he attempted to see how our vehicle would “handle” the road.  We were driving a four door 2010 white Jeep Sahara. I had the usual death grip on the handles begging him to slow down as I glared at the road ahead – as if the power of my stare willed us to remain upright on the road and safe.  I didn’t even get to enjoy the scenery as I was less than impressed with the apparent challenge.  This very scene would be why my daughter remembers the trip well, as she protested the challenge in her own way when she puked in the back seat finally putting an ended to the insanity.

Soon we were in Lilloeet and we stopped for gas grabbing some munchies as we were about to enter the very secluded and very curvy back alley highway, taking us up and through these massive coastal mountains onto Whistler – much like when  The Fellowship took the Pass of Caradhras, but when it didn’t work out, they ended up taking the route through Moria – only we were told to expect a breathtaking  drive. (I feel the need to disuade anyone from coming to the conclusion that I’m some major “fellowship” follower in using this reference. I enjoyed the movies and that’s about were my appreciation ends. Nevermind the fact I now have three posts with Fellowship referencing 🤔)

Google Map of Lilloee

As we meandered our way through the small town, crossed over the river on the bridge and started to wind up the mountain, the paved road became claustrophobic as trees dense with foliage began began narrowing the path.

It wasn’t long after, maybe 10 minutes or even less of climbing up the steep grade of the mountain, when I  could see a station wagon pulled over on the wrong side of the road, facing us. You know the kind the Griswald’s drove on their Christmas vacation. The hood was propped up and there were two men dressed in the usual lower mainland garb – a cross between grunge, hippie-wanna-be, and surfer envoking the spirit of Bill and Ted’s excellent adventure.

SIDE NOTE –  As   a trainer – my profession at the time – we were educated and trained to “see” inside our clients bodies, the movement mechanics, their ranges of motion, and asses areas of restricted movement, weakness or physical ability.  After a while,  a person starts to naturally watch everyone around them and how they move all while making quick visual assessments.  It comes naturally with the nature of the job.

Back to the story…..

We are quickly approaching this vehicle so my ex begins to slow down, as if to stop to see if they need help.  It was during this brief  time, I saw one of the men – the blonde one – look straight at us, mention something to the other guy and quickly reach through the passenger side opened  window.  He had grabbed something off the seat, pull his arm quickly behind him and stand straight up, very stiff like – very unnatural, in movement.

From the split second moments that it took for us to reach them, and from my curiosity of watching that man duck in quickly, was all it took to make my warning buttons go off. I started my usual assessment of his body movements. He was off.

We approach.

My ex started to roll down my passenger window, and as a quick reaction responding to my spider senses, I slammed down my hand on the switch and stopped the window. I looked at my ex with that death stare as if to say “WTF are you doing?”  – which confused him and annoyed him at the same time. The window ended up being opened about 6 or 8 inches or so, enough to allow for conversation.

As we were nearing our last few feet, closing the guy, I could see the man who grabbed something through the window correct his movements, or adjust to accommodate our line of sight, as if to conceal what he had in his hand. His hand remained behind him the whole time, as if someone where holding a cigarette away from others to avoid smoke blowing their direction. I did see something small and black that was bigger than his palm as he did this.  It wasn’t a wallet.  It wasn’t a cellphone.  It was something he didn’t want us to see and he was hiding it as his arm was not in a natural position. His movement was constricted and forced.  His body was tense. He didn’t flow naturally.

He was hiding something and he could see in my eyes that I knew it. During the whole interaction, he stared straight at me, and I him. We shared time and space together.

The other guy, who initially approached us, was the talkative one.  He had longish dark hair, teal v-neck t-shirt, a pock marked face and was being “friendly” with my ex.  My ex naturally asked if they needed help.  They declined and said that they needed some part for the engine – I didn’t pay attention to that fact.  I️ was focused on the blonde man. The one with the thing in his hand. The dark haired guy leans foreword, looks through my window to see what we had in the back seats, which of course were my 9 year old son and 7 year old daughter.  When he saw my kids, I could see his hand that was down by his side signal his buddy like a little flick of the fingers as if to say back off. The blonde man sees that I  saw this signal.

I can not explain the heaviness I felt.  It was like my heart beat became very concentrated – I could hear it ring in my ears and everything was going in slow motion as I was hyper sensitive to movement and watching the blonde man’s eyes. He looked at me and I looked at him. The hair stood on the back of my neck and I knew that whatever these men were up to, it was not good. Besides, it made no sense, the grade of the mountain was quite significant and they were facing down the mountain.  Why didn’t they put the car in neutral and coast down the hill right to town.

It was all wrong.

My ex satisfied was satisfied that he did his due diligence, smiled and waved, put the jeep into gear and continued onto the left side moving past them, holding onto the last possible second to which I could break my exchange, from staring him in the eyes, to staring at him in the side mirror, until he disappeared all together behind us.

When we were a safe distance away, I told my ex there is something wrong with that scene. Those men were up to no good.  He dismissed my comment and told me I was “seeing things.” Just as the words left his mouth, two people emerged from the bush and stepped onto the road almost right into the path of the Jeep.  One had a cut on his forehead and they were dirty as if they were rolling on the ground. They were clothed much like the other two, the same ages and started walking in the direction of the broken down car we had just passed. We had startled them.

As we drove by, they looked at us and we looked at them. Again, odd.

I had told Tyler to give me the cell phone as I was calling the police, but as I opened it I noticed we didn’t have service and we were not going to make our way back, pass them again and head to town to report them. So I had to wait a while for cell service.

Maybe to another it is nothing. But for me, that is how I remember it like it was yesterday.

The Pesty Prickle of a Provocateur

Often times when I blog, I’m working through something internally. There’s turmoil within.  A dual has been invoked, and an answer buried by emotion, is needing to be defined. The muse has struck and I feel compelled to write her out in a parlay of sorts of the mind and of whit. Somehow it has awoke and wedged herself within and has become a “burr under my saddle.”

I once had an ex beau…..  man friend…. dare I say, boyfriend?  It seems so juvenile at my age to call a man I’m dating a “boyfriend.”  My daughter has boyfriends.  I can’t wrap my head around this concept as it’s seems kind of silly so I avoid it all together.  It’s mushy and it weirds me out.

In any case, this cowboy/hockey player”friend” of my mine (think Sam Elliot on skates, with a little more meat on him and slightly smaller moustache) once described me as a woman with a “burr under her saddle.”  I remember looking at him, taken back at the simplicity of the description and yet it’s accuracy.  It was meant to be a compliment and yet a point of “self reflection.” One of those “your greatest strength is your greatest weakness” type of statements.

And so hence, once again, I have a burr under my saddle.

As I sit here frantically banging out sentences, much like a diary, the words spew forth and somehow work themselves out. The longer the run on sentence, the greater internal angst I have built.   The more I write, the more I excavate, exposing myself little by little, coming to the surface to breath only to return to dig deep once again. The words begin to mold thoughts.  Thoughts begin to mold understanding.  Understanding gives way to peace and thereby dislodging the burr within my britches and I am able to move on with my life.

I’m freed from the provocative pesty prickle.

Sometimes though, a little while later, I find that it was premature and the Prick. Still. Stings.

There I lay in bed, alone, with my thoughts for company. The muse strikes and my mind begins to spin, going over and over regarding every possible detail, and then some. I may even begin to exaggerate the imminency of the situation.  Imagine that!?!?

Hold on I need to overthink

I start to visualize the “what if’s.” Throw in a dash of past unkept pain and motivate it by whipping in some embered emotion.  Pretty soon I find myself roused and motivated enough to climb Everest…. in record time. Suddenly the unattainable becomes a feat attainable and WELL within my immediate reality. The blood begins to flow and with it the mind. It’s a slow fade really. The compromise comes cloaked in chosen denial and in stealth, it lures me.  I take the bait wholeheartedly and grasp it like it owes me money, never letting go.   Without discipline and without accountability, I exhaust my defences and sooner or later, one by one my mind’s healthy boundaries gives way  and my defences fall.

I am undone.  The burr has sunk it’s teeth.

So there I lay.  Alone in the dark and I wrestle.

The mid night daydreams begin to play over and over in my head and increase in their intensity exponentially.  From the thought of putting children to bed.  To conquering the master closet.  To painting the front door the perfect shade of Martha’s Robin’s Egg Blue. To finding that close parking stall in rush hour at church because I’m late. To a neighbourhood softball game. To visualizing coming at my opponent in a face-off in a up and coming soccer game. To a game, set, match in my next ladies league volleyball game. To a martial arts tournament.  To finishing last year’s taxes. To paying the bills on time. To coordinating vacations days with my ex, his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s ex. To throat punching your lawyer…..

I’ll stop there. It’s just gets worse the longer I’m awake.

Apparently there is a burr under my saddle.

It’s Just Me, Jennel

Most of you know my writings from my blog “The Vanessa Chronicles.” I had started the blog seven years ago as a means to express myself, as an outlet during a time when my world was turned upside down. In a way I went a little mad. I felt as if I were going crazy, losing my mind, having little pieces of my soul ripped from me like a monster tearing at it’s victim, yet the whole time I was struggling to keep myself from being torn apart. There were moments when a piece of my soul had just been ripped from me and my instincts would want to lash out and attack at whatever it was that was threatening me at the time. Sometimes I gave into this internal battle as most have done -most often when it involved my children or my sense of worth. In an attempt to exhibit self control, I would retreat to what most have known me to call my “thinking spot.”

Many lives were saved there, including mine, except unlike me, they just didn’t know it…. Echoes of an ironic laugh linger here.

I’d often explain the journey much like my soul being made of glass and with each episode was as if I were being beaten with a baseball bat. There I would be, lying there, shattered in pieces, mentally broken – physically ok and spiritually, righteously, angered. Day-by-day, step-by-step, I would gather the pieces of myself lying on the floor and put myself back together – most times with the help of another, usually my mother, my closest friends, eventually a mentor, and of course my church.

It was here that I began taking on a personal mentor. Not so much a counsellor, as I’ll be honest, “counselling” as per one-on-one, lay-on-the-couch and bear-my-soul type thing, has not been an effective experience for myself…..and I’ve had A LOT of it over the years. I’m not writing it off completely as I can say I learned some information and experienced the value of being heard which was the best part. The most effective counsellors/pastors/mentors have been the ones who ascribe to a “catch and release” program, deal with the issues at hand, strike fast, get ugly and rip-off-the-bandaid type. However, the programs or persons who ascribe to a much longer process or rather who were more about the value of a repeat costumer for the sake of business, I find highly unethical and quite frankly, a waste of my time. Don’t even bother suggesting it. I simply have better things to do then to dwell on victimhood.

Don’t get me wrong, I also realize that I am not everyone. I am simply just Jennel and this is how Jennel alone thinks. Another, might find it worthy. So please, as a reader I ask for understanding that I am speaking only for myself.

I do recognized that there is a repeat cycle to healing in which each time the self-imposed, survival-bandaid placed, gets ripped off, there’s another layer of healing accomplished. It sucks. Like, it F@%^&*&^% sucks, but once on the other side of it, there’s no going back. You begin to lay down HARD boundaries and life becomes not just bearable but rather enjoyable again.

Here’s the thing though, at some point a person has to ask when those boundaries became walls? When did the line-in-the-sand start forming bricks? I think a person doesn’t really know this answer until yet another scenerio arises that challenges it. What once was put in place for survival now becomes harmful to the self or rather prevents our ultimate goal of intimacy which requires us to become vulnerable once again.

And so we cycle again.

Also I’d like to clarify, I think there is a fine line between self-induced perpetual victimhood and never being given the opportunity to be heard. I believe one to be the result of the other and there can be many variables at play.

Back to my temporary madness…..

But that was seven years ago. The things I struggle with today are not the things I struggled with seven years ago. Well, actually the few that remain, God has this way of working it out (insert joyous smirk here).

I’m a totally different person today then I was then. I don’t even really see me as the same person. I’ve changed. My world grew. THE world grew….well, my understanding of it did anyways. Life was so haphazard before. We, being my ex and I, were careless and reckless with our lives, together and apart, thereby we were reckless with our children’s lives.

Again, hard boundaries now being put in place the hard way. Sometimes this is a necessary step. Sometimes and probably most times, it, being divorce, really wasn’t the best decision. MOST women I’ve spoken to have said the divorce wasn’t worth the pain. I don’t care what some social-media feminists/chauvinist person says, it’s is not the norm. There are exceptions but it is not the norm.

The first two years were hell on earth. I can say that with confidence.


There were times in my life I felt like I wanted to conquer the world, only now I found it was actually me just turning 32 – aka it was a hormonal thing and quite possibly a survival mechanism to break the sadness all added to the as per-usual-marriage-breakdown-recipe list. Often when I hear of a woman who has made what a “normal person” would deem as a rash decision, and from the outside looking in observing a wee bit of chaos, I think “OHHHHH YA….I get it, you go girl!!! She’s 32.” The problem is she doesn’t get it yet so there in lies the makings for potential war, a clash of the titans type thing and …. (heavy SIGH) eventual heartbreak.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not justifying anything. I’m simply identifying the condition of the female brain while going through our own hormonal “enlightening.” You men go through it at 18, well guess what, no one told me about turning 32!!!!


My diet might as well of consisted of red stake, with a chaser of peach snaps, slap my then boyfriend on the ass (he’d like that) and catcalls to all the 23 year old out there – because I tend to lean heavy on the side of ridiculousness.

Go hard or go home.



Most men that I dated, when the discussion of our perspective break ups was brought into play, I’d often hear the story and ask one question…

“Let me guess, was your wife between the age of 30-32?”

“Ya…… how did you know?”

So then I would explain, and ***POOF*** it was if a light bulb went off in their head.

Eventually though real life hits hard and what some call reality and I call God, tends to bring you back into the cycle of healing and onto the path of purpose, ultimately and probably saving your life.

That was Vanessa.

That was the girl that was tired of the mundane. Tired of the victimhood. Tired of the pain. She needed spiritual chest compressions and possibly a blast of fresh air pumped to her blood again. She needed someone who could step up to her plate, look her straight in the eye and take her on in the challenge.

Trust me, many tried ….and tried and keep trying. But I’m so exhausted over the subject that there’s no second chances.

It just was never right. Something was always off. We were on different paths in the healing process due to various reasons. Which I may touch on very slightly in a future post becauae I have some extremely funny stories, most of which are at my own cost. I’ll never be disrespectful to those I still consider friends.

It was during this period, I would write and confess certain enlightened “life lessons” as the events went on, hence the creation of this blog. With over one hundred entries made public and 300 hundred unpublicized, this blog has been in a way, therapeutic for me. I, of course wrote under an assumed name, Vanessa Spark, as I had a way too public life having worked in the medical, fitness and sports teams and oil & gas industries. Plus it allowed me to create what every person wants to create within them, their inner superhero.

Thus Vanessa was born. Try explain that one on a first date….

“Whose Vanessa Spark?”

“Well….(deep breath Jennel) …It’s ….huh…my superhero name.”

“I’m sorry…..your what?”

You can almost hear the residual awkward silence of confusion questioning “How crazy is this chick?”

Only thing was, it wasn’t Vanessa, it was just me.

I’m now at a place where I’d like to continue to write, I’m still attached for sentimental reasons to “Vanessa” but I feel like its time grow up. Time to let her go. Time to break up with myself.

It’s time to be JUST JENNEL.

So effective today, I’m changing the name of this blog and on the various linked social media accordingly. Apparently Facebook wont let me do it for a couple days on my page, I’m still trying to figure that out. But be prepared it will change…..AGAIN. lol.

I’m going to write about my life, my stories, my thoughts as they present themselves in the moment. My opinons may change over time…. in fact, I hope they do to an extent. It means i’m living life and not stuck back in to the boring and mundane. Most who know me actually would never describe me as boring nor mundane, more like…. bordering slightly on the ridiculous, which in my opinon is the perfect balance to life on earth. As much as I can be ridiculous, I do have many boundaries which makes for confusion to those who don’t get me.

It’s a gift.

It’s a curse.

It’s just me, Jennel.

In Darkened Fog 2

Upon his head he wears a crown,

A title he bears, notoriously renowned.

Born not into royal pedigree, but with

A claim staked in blood-stained treasonry.

He has no land, no castle to dwell,

His empire is vast – a mental hell.

Thick and heavy there he sits,

Like frost he heaves, her soul fractured thick.

Down down he lurks like blackened gold,

A seeping darkness, a force to behold.

Fathered in time, in whispers he weaves,

In words of untruth, he now plants his seed.

In hollowed exhale he breathes death’s life,

To shroud and veil his prey this night.

Tick tick he stalks, his timing must wait,

A grand debut – this soul he must take.

Like lightin’ he dives, strikin’ hard and quick,

To rawness of heart and mind he trick’s.

Like slivers shived in a shivered quake,

Her mind succumbs, her backbone breaks.

Her life now drained, her body lay limp,

Her copulated soul soon his to pimp.

I’ll hold and keep you, with glory and might

He whispers sweet nothings in poisoned delight.

His voice secretes like molten molasses,

It lingers and brands all desire to ashes.

To have and to hold her, in death she will part,

Sealed with a kiss of an infidel’s heart.

Translucent her skin, her lips drained red,

His fingers of death now embeded and webbed.

His breath now bates as his heartbeat waits,

With snake-like stealth he has set his bait.

There she lays with death’s dark eyes,

Starring onward and upward to distant skies.

Her darkened fog and billowed soul, has been

Shot dead – point blank, with Satan’s pistol.

In echoed sound, distant and faint,

She hears a voice cry “HER DEATH MUST WAIT!

Vague were their memory sitting on the tip of her tongue,

In the depths of her being, new hope has sprung.

Strange in it’s mystery yet familiarly known,

With each word spoken, new strength is sown.

STAND UP!” She hears. Her voice surreal –

Audibly present and internally real.

Upright she stands, in morals and ground,

A victorious defeat, for “Death be not proud.”

He’s a deceiver of lies, untruths and untrusts,

His foothold is shallow, his demise a must.

The dawning breaks lending light to her eyes,

A wellspring of hope in her heart now lies.

In darkened fog, her soul he once caged,

The absence of light now ignited and flamed.

In life we die a thousand life deaths,

Blinded by lies, thought beaten in best.

The enemy lurks, his shape transforms,

For he goes by names of many forms –

Fear, depression, guilt and unworth,

The Father of Lies over children of earth.

When dark times cloud in thick skies of grey,

The sun must set to start a new day.

~Jennel Harder

*edited and expanded for Boquette Panama Authors Group


Ode to Man on Valentines Day



What a curious creature we are!

Historically, we have had built and broken kingdoms.

Monuments have been built in our honour.

Prose have been penned in mourning both battle of war and heart.

We bore the very men who have bled for us, fought for us and died for us.

Men have loved us, not as we love them but as they love us.  Wild and bold.

We consume men, for they have longed for us in both pleasure and nurture and doing so

So I ask my fellow woman?

Whose kingdom are you building?

Whose kingdom are you breaking?

Did you know?

He lives for you.

He fights for you.

He would die for you.

He longs to care for your devotion and loyalty.

His being is permeated with the desire to provide for you and all consuming love for you.

His thoughts devour your being in both intimacy and honour.

He struggles for you in silence and he strives for understanding and acceptance.

Your body is more than for pleasure. Your more than flesh and feast.

You bore his child.  Part of him grew inside you and created his offspring.

He lives for you.

And here we stand faced with choice.

You can crush him or make his kingdom.

It all starts with you as we are responsible for ourselves.

What woman doesn’t want to be devoured?


With Love, From India


It 530 AM here in Gurgaon India, and I find myself reflecting on my Indian Adventure, but more focused on the sensual environment in which surrounds the culture and city life here for the most part Delhi, New Delhi and suburbia Gurgaon.

I came here looking to expand my world. Not only did I travel to the other side of it but I have grown in my understanding of culture and heart.

I’m sitting in the front living common area. The front door open as per always with the screen door closed. The front gate is open for easy access and yet no one seems to mind the obvious lack of security.

It doesn’t phase me – minus the intruder aka gecko I found in my room one day much to everyone’s delight. After seeing my rather over embellished response seeing it scatter laterally across my bedroom walls to safety only to meet up with its mate, apparently everyone was entertained.

I had the two guests for a few days it seems. Mahdi had said he had seen it when he met me the first day I had arrived but didn’t say anything. Let’s just say that conversation had me rather insistent on the imperativeness of “NO CREEPY CRAWLY THINGS ALLOWED!!” To which he responded with a rather failed attempt to suppressed humour, “but ‘this is india.'”

I look outside and see sun-ish skies, and I say sun-ish because the pollution here is so bad. The rain begins to fall down beating the window pains as I sit here sipping the most amazing chai tea ever. This beats any Starbucks coffee hands down.

……And just like that the rain stops.

Now I hear some man chanting off in the distance as if he were practicing his vocal scales but stuck on repeat between two notes.

Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down.

His voice waivers between the two sounds and a second voice now breaks into a chanting prayer of sorts.

The ambient noises here are different than in my small Canadian country town.

I now hear multiple accompanying voices chanting a long slow deep rhythmical guttural “ah-ee……..ah-ee” sound. Or maybe that’s a cow joining in?

I’m going to the terrace to check…..

Nope. Not a cow.

The birds here are beautiful, their sound equally enchanting, minus one. You know that everyday sound which has invaded the world of technology as every persons notification setting called chirp?

I have found the muse to which it was created. Constantly, I find myself looking up for my phone. I have since changed the setting and rather forcibly instructed others to do so in the guest house.

Someone is now selling something as they pass through the alleys calling out for available purchase.

The house staff are starting to arrive.

India has officially awaken for the day.

Now, for the smells.

This is a hard one to describe as I’ve seemed to have experienced a buffet of smells, most new to my nostril olfactory pallet.

The air is heavy and thick with moisture and pollution. Add in the garbage, spices, sewage and exhaust it can be overwhelming. Three times I’ve almost vomited from the overpowering smells that tends to leave a sticky film on the lungs and throat. My forever cough which was slowly fading as I left Canada, has been given a new will to live.

The back alley streets in Agra, where the exposed liquid sewage drops down from the external pipes on the the side streets, was enough to drop me. My eyes burned and my body wretched as it fought the urge to breathe until I could get to my hotel room and escape to yet a different set of smells – yet not ranking so high on the Richter scale of body convulsions.

Then there was the hydrovac at the mall – I literally started gagging and dry heaving. I reminded myself of my father-in-law as he would change one of my kids nasty diapers as babies. Imagine this “Canadian white chick” as I’ve been affectionately dubbed, walking on a busy street convulsing and gagging, being rushed away by her two friends as they laugh and chuckle at my new experience…….

Lastly, the environmental friendly and forward thinking process that is the renewable resource of “recycled water” being sprayed across the vast lawns at the Baha’i Lotus Temple…….. I’ll leave it at that.

Three times I can live with. My effort in my explanation is not to degrade but rather explain in depth my whole experience rather than just the beauty.

It is as I’m told they say here “that is Incredible India.

I wouldn’t change it for the world.


In the effort to keep my “this is incredible India” experiences current and to comment as to why I’m sitting in the main floor living room rather then in my air conditioned bedroom; I’ve been noticing a random noise in my room, like that of the slight shift of blind slats…. 

I’m quietly waiting for Mahdi to wake from his floor bed in the downstairs theatre room to come investigate.

I’m thinking my internal alarm clock has nothing to do with the internal.

For a man who is recently ex-military, he sleeps like the dead. Clearly his priorities and my priorities are somewhat weighted differently.

So I sit hear and wait.

The cockroach in the kitchen is twitching only slightly now so I feel I’ve been given the all clear to start cooking breakfast.

UPDATE: A couple of months after posting this blog on Facebook and having been home for awhile, Mahdi and I were reflecting on this day and as per usual, I walked away from it with a life lesson learned.
I remember being extremely messed up with my internal clock.  I’m an early to bed, early to rise type gal and with the inside-out change of days, it took me some time to adjust, slightly.  I still woke up at 5 am every morning while I was there and I still needed to go to bed early.  The heat helped me with the need to rest but it didn’t change my need to see the sun rise every am no matter what side of the world I was on. I’ve always been a busy person scheduling every second of the day with to do lists constantly. GO GO GO GO GO.
After about a week of me getting up early and waiting…WAITING…WAITING….for everyone else in the house to arise, it started to get to me.  The waiting was killing me. I started to pace.  I started to go mad.   I started having lists run through my head of what I could do, where I could be, how much time I was wasting sitting here doing NOTHING.
So around the fifth day or so, after many failed attempts to wake the sleeping man by stomping on the floor, slamming doors and resisting the urge to walk up to him and kick his feet, my patience had decided to go on it’s own vacation and I had a minor melt down. One night I laid it on thick.  I was loosing my mind and I needed to say something.
So I did.
I breathed.  I calmed myself and I thought of the perfect solution, so I concluded;
“You have one day.  Tomorrow at 8 AM, I am out of this house and going to go somewhere to see something.  ANYTHING.  Come or don’t come.  Either way I’m going.
He stood there quietly and smiled, calmly and still amused; “I didn’t realize you were getting up so early.  You should have said something.  Your right.  Let’s go do something before the heat of the day gets to be too much.
NOTE: The concept of time in India was relative.  I remember seeing an add on the grocery story staff poster in the back office – because I had to pee and there was no public washrooms – it said “We value you as an employee and your work schedule.  Show up between 8-12 and work your 8 hour shift and leave each day.”  I remember thinking how insane that was and how does a person schedule anything.
Another time, we were waiting for a friend to come pick us up and take us out to dinner and dancing at a local club and after confirming his arrival of 15 minutes, he still didn’t show up for 2 hours.  This frustrated me as I thought it was extremely disrespectful and rude, whereas the locals didn’t even think twice about it.  They said it’s normal.
Fast forward to our phone call four months after…..
ME; “Mahdi, do you remember that morning when I had lost it because I was always waiting for everyone to show up?” “Do you remember how mad I was?” insert laugh here and a giggle of 20/20 hindsight.
Mahdi was quiet and smiling. He looked at me and said “can I tell you something?
– “of course.
Quietly he opened up his secret;
Did you know that I’ve never had a vacation?  Did you know that every morning I’ve woke up it was out of duty for work, for a mission, for war,” …… his list went on.
Did you know that the only time in my life that I have never had to worry about something that day or have ever slept in was while in India?
“&^%$^ – OMG!!!! WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SOMETHING?” – I felt like a selfish wench.
Mahdi trying to reassure me;  “No- no. You were my duty.  You flew halfway around the world to see me.   We do what you want, when you want it.  I was happy to get up and take you on your adventure.  It made my day.
Me:  UGH!  I still didn’t feel any better.
Lesson in life: RELAX.  This is India.  Time is irrelevant.