Growing Up Is Hard To Do


It feels so weird to be here this morning…..this is my first year EVER being on my own for Thanksgiving and my brother passed away 7 months ago today, so pardon my less than stellar mood. I plan to take some time for myself today…maybe a hike through the redwoods in armstrong woods or a sobfest watching The Notebook. As much as I wish I could be home right now, part of me is glad this holiday is really low-key this year and I think I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. Tomorrow I’m going to drive down to Woodside and I’ll be back to Healdsburg on Saturday. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to blog for the next few days…I might take a little break..not sure yet but I’ll keep you updated.

Anyways, here’s breakfast!


Oatmeal made with almond milk, banana, dried cherries and almond butter. Delish.

About to go work on some freelance stuff right now then probably hit the gym. Talk to you in a bit–if you are traveling today, please stay safe!!

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  • Rhonda Pearson
    November 25, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Lots of prayers for you today, take it easy and don’t feel bad about it. Like you said that must be what you are supposed to be doing.

    ;0)~ one of your MANY faithful readers

  • Katherine
    November 25, 2009 at 8:43 am

    we all need our downtimes. It’s healthy 🙂

    Have a great day.

  • Sam (Merit to the Carrot)
    November 25, 2009 at 8:51 am

    I hope you can find and enjoy some R&R to breathe it out. You have the support of your blog family! Enjoy your low-key holiday and a fabulous hike! and, of course, The Notebook 🙂

  • jenna
    November 25, 2009 at 8:52 am

    🙂 keep your little chin up!! 🙂 you have been doing beautifully the past 7 months and I know everyone that reads your blog daily knows you deserve a break! I hope you and your family have a wonderful, well-deserved Thanksgiving!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    November 25, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Hi Jenna – I just wanted to tell you that a few weeks ago I went back through and read your blog. I have only been following for abut 3 months, but when I saw what you went through with your brother, I was in complete shock. I have 2 brothers myself, and I can’t even imagine. You are so strong and I am so inspired by you – the positive outlook you have on life and the courage to go through so many changes are so rare these days, especially when someone has been through such a tough situation. I think you are such an amazing person and I am thinking of you and your family today! Lots of prayers!

  • Vanessa (Last Night's Leftovers)
    November 25, 2009 at 9:02 am

    I hope you enjoy your day and get some much deserved R&R. Take care of yourself! 🙂

  • Pam
    November 25, 2009 at 9:03 am

    Jenna, sending healing your way!

    Be safe and enjoy!

  • Lauren @ Eater not a runner
    November 25, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Hope you get the time and relaxation you need!

  • molly
    November 25, 2009 at 9:05 am

    I hope you have a fabulous Thanksgiving! I cannot imagine having a Thanksgiving sans family. I can’t imagine how you are feeling. However, I know you will make it through! Blog or no blogging have an awesome holiday!

  • prinny
    November 25, 2009 at 9:06 am

    (( hugs ))
    My best friend lost her little brother (who was also a very good friend to me) in March. With the holidays approaching, I can only admire you for all the strength you have. My friend is falling apart right now, and I have to admit that there are a lot of days on which I just want to sit by his grave and cry all day.

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite
    November 25, 2009 at 9:06 am

    My thoughts are with you today… keep your head up!

  • Chloe (No Sugar and Spice)
    November 25, 2009 at 9:07 am

    Thinking of you today Miss Jenna. You deserve some time for yourself, and your readers (and everyone else) will understand if you take some time to escape. Regardless, have a wonderful couple of days and Happy Thanksgiving!

  • megan
    November 25, 2009 at 9:07 am

    Definitely praying for you today, and will be also through the holiday season. such a tough time when you are missing someone! Just keep looking to God and keep your eyes focused on Him – makes it a little easier to withstand all the storms/wind/waves.

  • Joelle (The Pancake Girl))
    November 25, 2009 at 9:12 am

    May God bless you dear.. I know it’s hard, but it will get better.

  • Megan (The Runner's Kitchen)
    November 25, 2009 at 9:13 am

    I think the holidays definitely get more difficult as we grow up. My papa died 3 years ago and one of the last things he passed on to me was how to carve the Thanksgiving turkey. This holiday always makes me think of him. I bet a nice long hike will make you feel better. I bet your bro is looking down on you and proud of all you’ve done these last few months.

  • Julie
    November 25, 2009 at 9:18 am

    My prayers are with you! It’s my first Thanksgiving (or really any holiday) on my own too.

    I don’t know you, but I’m proud of what you have accomplished. You bring so much encouragement to me because I have moved far away from my family, like you have. WE CAN DO IT! 🙂

    God bless!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes)
    November 25, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Jenna I am praying for you during this difficult time. Missing family is hard but especially around the holidays. I am lifting you up to the God who can strengthen you 🙂

  • emma
    November 25, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Thinking of you on this day, Jenna. Whether you celebrate a traditional thanksgiving or not, what you’ve been through over the past seven months has taught me how to cherish, be thankful, for the people in my life. Stay strong and safe…you have all of our support.

  • Jenna
    November 25, 2009 at 9:25 am

    have a great restful day! i do understand if you wish to take off a couple days from blogging!

  • Tammy (Defining Wellness)
    November 25, 2009 at 9:25 am

    I was thinking about you the other day because I know that the first holiday season after losing a loved one can be especially difficult. You’re in my thoughts and prayers. Sending extra love and comfort your way!

  • Christie @ Honoring Health
    November 25, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Hang in there, Jenna.

    Tomorrow will be the fifth Thanksgiving without my brother and I know how hard those “first” holidays are. Peace to you, my friend.

  • Anna
    November 25, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Dear Jenna,
    I hope you find some peace in your journey through the redwoods today. My thoughts are with you and you are such a dear person. I’m so glad you have your kitty with you – snuggle up and do whatever your brain tells you is the right thing moment to moment. *hugs*

  • Kat (kats daily plate)
    November 25, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Please take good care of yourself in the days to come… I think a solo hike and the Notebook both sound like great ideas. What will you be doing tomorrow in Woodside? do you have friends down there to spend the evening with?
    You are one strong woman, keep inspiring us!

  • Amanda
    November 25, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Just take care of yourself and do whatever it is that you feel you need to do. Relaxing and alone time can work wonders!

  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    November 25, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Having lost my brother recently, also in a violent shocking way, and my Dad Oct 7th, I know it is an up and down journey. Last night watched a Hallmark Christmas special and the story was about a family that lost their son and brother. Sobfest. Big-time…just when think getting better.

    A break is re-energizing. Much as I love technology, healthy to do without for awhile to recharge. Woodside is BEAUTIFUL. There is a lively fun divey place ‘Bucks’ across from a charming garden shop in a dell of a village. There is GORGEOUS Filoli Gardens–probably decorated beautifully. Nearby Atherton…a beautiful place for a walk. Menlo Avenue with charming bistros, ditto University Ave, and few places like Memorial Church on Stanford Campus ‘Mem Chu.’ Gorgeous campus and fairly deserted at Thanksgiving…lots of beautiful TREES.

    In the Hallmark story one of the characters that is the spirit of the son & brother coming back in disguise says to the mother as they are standing outside at night in the snow looking at the moonlight on a dark field ‘The dark and light are all a apart. Could you see the beauty of the moonlight if the field weren’t dark?’

    Loved this beautiful boy’s choir singing ‘Sanctus’:

    Blessings Jenna…and to all! Off for a walk on the beach.

  • Traci
    November 25, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Jenna, enjoy the next couple of days as a time to recharge. We all need to take time for ourselves. As one of my Bikram teachers says at the end of every class…Enjoy your peace. Happy Thanksgiving to you! Wishing you lots of laughs 🙂

  • Gena
    November 25, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Happy thanksgiving, Jenna! You’re not alone in spirit — so many friends sending you good thoughts 🙂

  • Ellie
    November 25, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Hi Jenna! This is my first time posting a comment, but I love your blog and read it every day. I just wanted to send you my support and prayers on such a tough day in your life. Your loved one are and will always be in your heart, even when they seem impossibly far away. I hope you have a great holiday season filled with lots of love, joy, wine and chocolate!

  • Erin
    November 25, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Man, bloggers are so kind. Reading peoples comments is giving me a happy feeling and they’re not even to me! I hope you have a peaceful and blessed day, Jenna. You deserve it! Thoughts and hugs to you this week.

    Sidenote – you look FAB rocking the new hair. Tres chic 🙂

  • Kristie Lynn
    November 25, 2009 at 9:46 am

    Prayers for you – as tough as it can be, you sure have grown into an even more beautiful person out of all that has happened!

  • Sarah (Oc2Seattle)
    November 25, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Relish your downtime, and even though we will all miss you, you deserve a “blog vacation”!

  • Ameena
    November 25, 2009 at 9:48 am

    I am so sorry about your brother…you definitely should take some time to recharge!

  • Betty
    November 25, 2009 at 9:51 am

    You and your family are in my thoughts & prayers. <3

  • Tiffany S.
    November 25, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Big hugs to you today. Definitely taking time for yourself sounds like the best idea.

    I heard “My Sister’s Keeper” is good for a cry if you just need to wallow (I’ve been doing a bit of wallowing myself lately).

    Take care. We’ll all be here for you when you get back!

  • Sarah
    November 25, 2009 at 9:57 am

    have a good thanksgiving jenna! my thoughts are with you:)

  • Sarah R
    November 25, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Thoughts and prayers sent to you. Have a good thanksgiving!

  • Abby
    November 25, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Not that you need anyone suggesting what you should do for you, but I say you count your blessings on all the great things that have happened to you this year, the new experiences, the new friends, your mom’s visit, the new foods…(I know you do this anyway, just from your posts, but still.)

    Instead of a sob fest, rent a funny, brainless movie you don’t have to think about while watching, eat your favorite foods by candlelight or go hang out with friends, take a long hike and a notebook–write without self-editing–do what makes you feel most thankful (yes, I’ve been alone on this day as well!)

    Being an adult can suck, but it does have it’s perks…wine, anyone? Have a great holiday!

  • Beth
    November 25, 2009 at 10:06 am

    Praying your continued strength and courage. You have proven the last few months that anything is possible when you rely on the Lord!

  • Corey
    November 25, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Hi Jenna,
    I will be praying for you and your parents today and especially over the holiday! I know you will enjoy yourself whatever you do, b/c you honestly have the most positive attitude of anyone I’ve ever met! (Ok I’ve never met you, but still. Feels like I know you.:) Have a great Thanksgiving with your friends! (And your highlights look fabulous!)

  • Deva (Voracious Vorilee)
    November 25, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Thoughts with you Jenna. You are amazing and strong and brave to move across the country. Your brother would be excited and proud for you and of you.

  • skinnyrunner
    November 25, 2009 at 10:16 am

    have a fabulous day thinking and being by yourself!

  • Veronique Barretto
    November 25, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Don’t worry about taking a break! I will share with you a daily inspiration email I get, I think today’s was meant for you…

    “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” ~Chinese Proverb

    So take your time! Hope your Thanksgiving is everything you need! God Bless! Veronique “aka” Vinously Speaking’s The Ceci Sipper

  • Tania @ Moment Anew
    November 25, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Jenna, have a wonderful next few days. Take whatever time you need and do whatever you need to do for YOU. We will always be here when you come back 🙂 And Deva is right. Your brother would be so proud of you. All the best. *hug*

  • greenbean
    November 25, 2009 at 10:24 am

    *big hug*

  • Tracey @ TropicalHappiness
    November 25, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Sorry to hear that things are tough… these are what I call “blue days.” Enjoy your time to yourself… it can be very rejuvenating! And Happy Thanksgiving!!! Just because we aren’t with our families on Thanksgiving doesn’t mean that we don’t have wonderful lives or things to be thankful for. Your Thanksgiving will be a little different this year, but still GOOD! Big hugs!!

  • Evan Thomas
    November 25, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Do what feels right for you this holiday. Self health, mental and physical, is really what there’s to be thankful for

  • Danielle
    November 25, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Right now taking care of yourself is the most important thing – and honestly it’s the only thing that you should be focused on. I think it’s safe to say that we all want what is best for you – enjoy your journey this week/end.


  • Amanda @ Cakes and Ale
    November 25, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Definitely take some time off if you can… sometimes nothing better for the soul than to just disconnect and balance yourself out, you know?
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Katie
    November 25, 2009 at 10:50 am

    I can’t even imagine going on with my life as you have if I lost my brother. You are a shining example of strength. Take care of yourself and do what’s best for you. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • mel
    November 25, 2009 at 10:52 am

    my brother just left this past weekend for 8 years in the air force and my fam has been sobbing ever since. you are so amazing and are such an inspiration to me and everyone else.Hang in there darling

  • Beth @ DiningAndDishing
    November 25, 2009 at 10:57 am

    You are in my thoughts Jenna! I was alone on Thanksgiving my first year of college and it was very difficult. However, it is an important lesson in being able to enjoy your own company and sometimes some “me” time is just what needed. Hang in there :O).

  • Molly @thevegandorm
    November 25, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Sometimes a laid-back holiday is the perfect excuse to take some time for yourself – a hike sounds heavenly!

  • Erin
    November 25, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Last year was my first Thanksgiving “alone” but remember that you’re never truly alone if you have friends by your side. It’s definitely more difficult being away from family but I’m hoping you find peace for the weekend.

  • Julia
    November 25, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Thinking about you!

    xxx Julia (Taste of Living)

  • MMiller
    November 25, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Jenna, take the time you need! It is probably good that you couldn’t make it home for Thanksgiving! You would have felt more of a loss with your brother not being there! Take care of yourself first and foremost! I lost my sister just over 2 years ago, and we still miss her always, but the Holidays are always the worst! Your brother would have loved how you are LIVING your LIFE! I’m sure he is looking down on you proudly!

    I wasn’t yet reading your blog when you lost your brother…but I also went back and read the stories! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  • Amanda
    November 25, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Take a break and recharge, we’ll still be here : ) I hope your thanksgiving is wonderful!

  • Cait (Cait's Plate)
    November 25, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    AMEN to your title! I know it can seem lonely to be without your family on Thanksgiving – but just think of it as getting to create all your OWN Thanksgiving traditions and memories!!

    Chin up Jenna!!

  • Katy H. @ These Beautiful Feet
    November 25, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Honestly, take some time off and time for yourself. Take LOTS of pics to fill us in on later. But maybe this is the perfect time to take a break and reflect. I know we all wish we could give you a hug at this point. I’m sorry things are rough right now, I can’t imagine. I’ll be praying for you. 🙂

  • Stephanie
    November 25, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    I hope you have a lovely and relaxing holiday, and take some time off if you need it girl 🙂

  • Angi
    November 25, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    The people we love, be they on this earth or in heaven, are always with us.

    Spending alone time is good, it lets you connect with yourself. Go on a hike, talk to your brother while you walk. I talk to my grandmother all the time, keeps me connected and I always feel comforted and free afterwards.

    Have a wonderful weekend on your own.

  • Alison
    November 25, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Jenna – thinking of you over these next few days. I am very far from home right now too – and it sucks. I hope you do whatever it is that you need to do to make yourself happy and ease a bit of the pain from the past 7 months. I still think its incredible that you have accomplished so much in the aftermath of such a tragedy.

    On a side note – please, please be careful if you are going hiking alone… stay safe!! xoxo

  • Leanne
    November 25, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    You do what you need to do. Don’t even worry about us.

    I am offering you big big hugs. It is hard to be alone on the holidays. It is even more hard to be grieving the loss of your brother on important days.

    Take care of you. Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Tamzin
    November 25, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Its good to get some me time once in a while enjoy it and we’ll all be here waiting for your inspiring words when you return x x

  • kristen
    November 25, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Good luck Jenna. Hopefully you can take this weekend to relax, take time to just “be”, and to be thankful for what you do have despite all of the crap. I hope you find some peace in the trees!
    We’ll be here when you get back 🙂

  • Jordan
    November 25, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Saying a big prayer for you!

  • Gab*
    November 25, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Tough times Jenna 🙁 Take some time for yourself and take it easy on yourself. Special occasions are when you miss your loved ones the most, totally normal to be feeling down.

  • Jolene (
    November 25, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    I am thinking of you today. I hope you made it through the day okay 🙂

  • Emi
    November 25, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Thinking of you! I hope time in the woods, time with good friends, and little glass of wine helps you remember all the great times with your brother and your family. Have a very happy thanksgiving and let yourself indulge…in nature, pie, or whatever it is that makes you smile!

  • J
    November 25, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    please take a few days off completely from any blogging.I really think it is worthwhile for one’s soul and spirit.
    And trust me, we are all such devoted readers-you will never lose us and we want you to think of yourself.Life is so short,it is so important to treasure special tiem for ourselves and noone else.Don’t forget your blog is partly your “job” and it is good for mental health not to be at it 365 days a year-that wouldn;t be good for anyone,let alone a gal who is missing her brother and seven months is such a short time as far as grieving goes.Of course you will miss him for all of eternity,but seven months is such a terribly brief period and not enough time to really deal with it all(this is just my personal opinion and experience with grief).
    Wishing you continued strenght through Thanksgiving and especially Christmas.And a special thought going out to your parents this week-wishing them peace and treasured memories.

  • Amber
    November 25, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Can I just say- your blog is totally something I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving. You are a fantastic writer and I hope your T-give away from your family goes well. Enjoy the day- I am sure John would have wanted you to eat until you pass out 🙂

  • Alex Gonzalez
    November 25, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    hey, i completley understand how your thanksgivings are.. i lost a brother my self 2 years ago. although its been two years it feels like it was just yesterday. thanksgiving an christmas an any other holidays can feel like hell sometimes. im 16 now but i’ve learned to grow quick. life isnt easy but you just gotta know they are in a wayyyy better place then us. and they wouldnt wanna see us this way on this holidays. just stay strong and keep your head up.

    sincerly, alex gonzalez

    November 26, 2009 at 8:08 am

    Hang in there and feel free to relax and just enjoy the holiday- we’ll be here when you get back 🙂 I have to say I like your idea to make an olive oil cake. I’ve been spending Thanksgiving out on my own since I was 18 and have come up with all kinds of fun traditions of my own… creativity is key.

  • Kathleeen
    November 26, 2009 at 9:03 am

    Holidays are so hard after losing a loved one. The first Thanksgiving after the death of my husband, I remember doing much of the same that you plan on doing. Life takes you in different directions and sometimes it just feels right to be doing your own thing. 8 years later, I’m remarried and back to celebrating traditions. When people used to tell me that “it just takes time” I wanted to smack them. Now I know…it’s true. Even though that’s the case, I will never say that to someone, because I know how it made me feel. I was 31 at the time (39 now) and it seemed like life would never be the same. True, it’s not the same, but it’s pretty amazing and I’m so grateful for that. Hang in there Jenna, our angels in heaven are blanketing us with their love today and everyday.