Weekly Newsletter

Good morning, Trench Dwellers!

Happy Thanksgiving Week! (I also call it Happy Turkey Week or Gobble Gobble Week!) I hope this Thanksgiving is a good one for you—a time with family and friends, a time to reflect on all the things you can be thankful for. This week at Stories from the Trenches will be a time to share our thankfulness, gratitude, and blessings. Even if you are in the midst of the storm, there is always at least one thing to be thankful for—even if that is that you are breathing right now as you read this.

Maybe you don't have family or friends at your table this year. Please know the Trench Community is here and loves you.

Maybe this is your first holiday without your loved one, or you've just received bad news, or you are still in a fog of hurt. Know the Trench Community is here and thankful for you.

Maybe this is your first holiday in the fog, in the eye of the storm, and you barely got out of bed this morning. Know the Trench Community is here and is grateful for you.

Maybe this is your first holiday where you are cooking your first turkey, and your home is about to be filled with chaos and tension. Know the Trench Community is here and is blessed by your existence.

Wherever your feet land on Thanksgiving this year, know that the Trench Community loves you, is thankful for you, is grateful for you. We want to encourage you right where you are.

Jen G.
Founder, Stories from the Trenches

Jen's Journal

Thanksgiving 2012 was only one month after Eli passed away. I just could not do the usual, traditional things. I got the brilliant idea that, after he died, we needed to pack up the girls and head to Disney World. We needed to "get out of Dodge" and go make some much-needed memories after the trauma we had endured. That year, Thanksgiving was spent in the car to Nashville, TN, to spend time with my stepmother's family and then continue straight to Orlando, FL. We had a week of memories in the Happiest Place on Earth, even with broken, shattered hearts. For moments at a time, I could breathe and smile again—just what my soul needed for the first holiday he should have been there for.

We spent the next two years continuing to "do anything but the norm" for holidays. Last year, my heart was healed just enough to host again. Again on this Turkey Day, my home will be filled with family, friends, and others who just need a place to go. I love that. I love filling my home with laughter, children yelling, and our door wide open. If there is one legacy I want to leave for my children, it is that all are welcome in our home.

Recent Stories


Adoption and Devotion

When it comes to our adoption story, do you want my son’s birth story or our now-story? Do you want to know how he was a twinkle in our eyes before we held him in our arms on a Sunday afternoon in that extremely hot, noisy orphanage in Ethiopia? Or do you want to know how I wake up with fear clawing at my stomach every morning—fear that my beautiful, brown son may not come home safe today?

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Wrapped in Butterfly Wings

My husband Derek and I have been married almost six years. This is the second marriage for both of us (another story for another day), and we are absolutely thrilled to have found the person with whom we were meant to share our lives. Derek is my rock. He calms my anxiety and makes life much simpler with his laid-back personality. He makes me laugh, and he pushes me to continue to improve myself and to reach my goals. He loves me no matter what. A quote from the movie Wedding Crashers best exemplifies the way I feel about Derek: “Love is the soul’s recognition of its counterpart in another.”

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