Sunday, January 13, 2013

Who Is This Jenny Elaine Anyway?

                            Holding my brother Steven in 1960


I grew up on the go. My father, being in the Navy, was gone out to sea when I was birthed here in MN in 1957. By the time I got out of school I had been to 9 schools...and that was before even entering HS, which was number 10!



We lived many places from Hawaii to Connecticut. Therefore I made few friends because by the time I got to know someone well enough we moved. Because of being the new kid and always taller than everyone, with braids and freckles, I ofttimes was also a target of bullying, which is one of the things that drove me later on to attend college so as to be able to teach and then work with children for over 30 yrs ~ and then much later write a children's book on bullying that recently came out called, "Monsters, Monsters, Monsters!



I'm glad for the among many kinds of people...eating all kinds of food...and living in diverse climates. However, something I missed was roots.



My father loved being in the Navy to the point that he didn't like being home and he showed it. However, I do remember how the families of each crew being able to go down into the submarines when they came home...and how they would stock them with goodies and an ice cream machine so we could have as much as we wanted. We also seemed to have free reign and would run around the inside of the old submarine which was fun to us kids. Our giggles would echo and we wanted to stay a while...although my Dad said that the cock roaches were terrible...well, that did it for us!



My mother did what she could, but I know it was hard being a 'singlish' parent to my younger brother and myself, and then along with also having to pack up and move so often. So, I isolated myself and drew so much of the time that I filled up many tablets of paper...or thankfully, my mother also tried to find dance or art classes for me to take so I would not spend so much of my time alone. I also began feeling bouts of deep depression when I was in my early teens. However, even before that I found myself not wanting to live. I remember whenever I'd hear people talk about someone being in their 80's, and how they hoped to live that long, I'd shake my head and think to myself that I sure didn't want to live any longer than 50!





Fast forward to 1976, when I graduated from a HS in Colorado. I was so glad to be out and ended up really being 'out' because when my parents asked what I wanted for my graduation I said, "A ticket outta here!". So I moved here to MN about three weeks after graduation to live with my aunt.



About a year later I moved into a rooming house for young women. It was a gorgeous old mansion near downtown Mpls that had custom made, imported fireplaces in each room. I remember the one in my room had inlaid mother of pearl. I also remember the huge furnace in the basement that looked like a monster octopus!



Then shortly I moved in I was invited by someone in the house to go to her church. I had grown up going to church, so I was very open to it. Wherever we moved we found a Lutheran church and attended about every Sunday. So, I figured if it was a Christian church then there was no reason not to go. So after attending for a short time I was baptised. At that time it was and still is considered one of many denominations within Christendom, but it had so many very restrictive rules that in time I felt like I had literal weights on my shoulders. In fact I remember the exact moment that feeling came on me. Needless to say I began squirming my way out of going each Sunday and never went back.




However, shortly after that I was invited to another church by a new gal who had moved in. I was OK with going, especially after she told me that there wasn't the rules like the last church. However, she said, that it was probably a little different than what I was used to...because they raised their hands in the air and clapped when they sang!  Well,  even though I had an Aunt that my family always made fun of because she went to a church like that...I still decided to go anyway!



During this time I used to go downtown with some of the girls in the house to a disco club. (I know, I'm dating myself here! Ha!) One of the girls I went with was the gal who invited me to the, to me I was just following her example because I figured she knew more than me about these things. However, after accepting Christ, being baptised and growing a bit I began feeling uneasy about going anymore.


I remember one of the nights we went I was sitting and talking with a guy who would regularly go there as well...yes, sitting there telling him about the church and inviting him too! I look back and remember the look on his face when he said, "I'm Jewish and I rarely even go to the Synagogue!" I remember after that getting sicker and sicker to my stomach each time I went...and within a short time never went back.



Then within just a few months I moved into Park House, which was what I like to describe as kind of like a Christian commune. It was one of the ministries of the church...which came out of the Jesus movement. PH had two houses, one for the women and the other for the guys. I thank God for that place as I needed to be taken by the hand and carefully guided. I was there for close to a year and a half. The in depth teaching, prayer and guidance was exactly what I needed! Some referred to it as a halfway house...but we called it the "all the way house"!



Shortly after moving out I went to a bible boot camp...yup, boot camp! Our church also had a wonderful retreat center a couple hours away where a 5 week boot camp was held each summer and a 3 week one during the winter. Well, of course I went to the summer one! (MN ya know!:)



It was set up just like boot camp. Up early. Chapel at 6, and if you're late you get either KP or have to memorize scriptures pertaining to the offense. I still remember mine to this day! ;)



Then 6:30 exercises,  7 clean bunk area and shower, 8 breakfast, 9-noon bible teaching, noon to 1 lunch, then 1-5 work detail. I'll tell you, the bible teaching was amazing. Because our church had many affiliations, we had bible teachers come from all over the US to teach.




 We delved into the wonders of the OT and all of the various ways in which it pointed to the coming of Christ. The temple and the details of it's construction, and how it was laid out is a type of what was to well as in depth looks at what the bible teaches about the cross, grace, the new nature vs the old, deliverance, creationism, bible history, fasting (which included a 3 day fast), considering the whole counsel of God when studying and reading scripture, baptism in water and the Holy Spirit (including gifts), being witnesses, forgiveness, spiritual warfare and etc.



 Wow, I am so grateful to this day for this, especially on top of what I had already been blessed with in PH. Amen! Yes, we played pranks on each other and got in lots of trouble too....but at the end of camp the director said that even tho our camp had the most KP's and bible verses memorized than any other previous camp, that he'd never seen one more committed to the Lord!



I remember the last time I visited that place was shortly before the church disbanded. We got off the bus and knew right away that the Holy Spirit was not there anymore...and interestingly enough, the lake that we always loved swimming in, fishing in and canoeing died too.



Anyway, having had this rich foundation and these multiple experiences has been invaluable and it contributes each day to my walk with God.



In 1984 I decided to move to California to be near family, as everyone in my immediate family had become Christians. Then I married someone in '87 that I thought was a Christian, but it ended up being a very emotionally and carnally abusive marriage to the point where I seriously wanted to die...which coaxed me to move out for a while and live with a close friend and her husband for a time. However, because he felt he could not directly control my actions anymore, he did everything he could to keep me from my children and then divorced me in '99...all the while, because he was such a charmer, was able to sway many people to believe he was the one being hurt.



One of the things that we were taught in marriage classes, was that women should not speak evil of their husbands and that divorce was almost never, ever an the point that the word 'divorce' should not even be spoken....which is why I didn't speak about his actions much. This, unfortunately was my downfall...because no one knew what was really going on in our home...which contributed greatly to him being able to get away with so much.   



BTW, I would greatly appreciate your prayers about this, as his influence on my daughter has been my concern...and has weighed very heavy on my heart.


 Second half up till now coming soon...







  1. I'm a little speechless. Wow! What a journey!!!

  2. Hi Jenny, it's a pleasure to discover your blog home and learn a more about you. Seems like you have a lot of rich experiences that you can share wisdom with others.


Please let me know of any comments or questions you may have...I enjoy learning from others and hearing what they have to say...