In the Wake of Orlando: When Darkness Falls Be the Light

This is a Facebook post written by a dear friend of mine- a woman who is brave. Jennifer is sharing her words in hopes that her voice might add to the light that is surely permeating the darkness. Thank you, Jen.

I’ve been struggling to find the right things to say in the wake of this tragedy in Orlando, but the truth is that there really isn’t much that I can say that is worth anything to the victims and their friends and families.

In the Wake of Orlando be Light in the Darkness by Jennifer Hilliard

In the Wake of Orlando: When Darkness Falls Be the Light by Jennifer Hilliard

I was 14 years old the first time that I realized that I was in love with a girl. I was too crippled by fear of other people’s reactions to let myself be open about my feelings.

In the years since, I have had a handful of relationships. I have been in love with and in committed relationships with women. I have feared for my safety, my heart beating in my ears, while holding hands with girlfriends in public. I have had insults shouted at me through car windows. I have been in relationships with people whose families disowned them because of who they were.
I have been to several gay clubs – in NY, SC, and in FL. I have never felt anything but safe and loved in those spaces. Never once did I fear for my safety while dancing with friends and significant others. It feels like magic, you guys, to have those spaces.
Had 14-year-old me known about the joy of being in a safe space with other queer folks, maybe I would have been more brave.
This tragedy isn’t about me. It’s not about my experiences. As we mourn those who lost their lives, I can’t help but think of the far-reaching consequences. Those teenage queer kids who are already nervous about being out now have to face the harsh truth that even their safe spaces may not be safe. Imagine that, if you can.
I benefit from the perception that strangers have of me, based on what my life looks like. I am very happily married to a man. I have two beautiful children. I don’t live with the fear that I will be on the receiving end of violence when I’m out with my family. And I have taken that for granted. I have become complacent.
I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I’m doing my best to raise kind and compassionate children. They are aware of the diversity of our community and we are fortunate to have queer friends and family members.
I don’t know what to do from here. I do know that I won’t buy into the divisiveness that I’ve seen on Facebook these past two days. Pointing fingers only serves to hurt other people. Blaming another group has never done anything to unite us.
I will live in love and with honesty. My home will always be open to LGBT people who have lost friends and family members because of who they are. I will make sure that my children love and respect everyone, regardless of how they identify, of political affiliation, of their stance on gun control.

I can’t undo what has been done. I grieve for the lives lost, for the family members and friends who are missing their loved ones tonight. I cry with them and I will go forward as a light… Because what else can I do?
If you’re still reading, thanks. And if you can’t accept my words, you can see yourself out without bringing me down. My heart hurts enough as it is.

In the Wake of Orlando Be Light in the Darkness by Jennifer Hilliard

In the Wake of Orlando: When Darkness Falls Be the Light by Jennifer Hilliard



Jennifer Hilliard is a lifelong learner living in coastal South Carolina with her husband and young son and daughter. She is a proud geek, craft beer enthusiast, and outspoken voice for children and minorities.

Instead of Judging My Kids I say “I Love Being Your Mom”

Instead of Judging My Kids I Say "I Love Being Your Mom" by Jennifer Andersen

A couple of years ago, I read this piece about changing the way I speak to my children. It resonated immediately. Even though I meant well with my words, telling my daughter that she's an excellent hula hooper, or my son that he's a good builder, was forging an unintentional path for them. It created tension. I was placing value on what they … Continue Reading...

5 Easy Changes I Made to Feel Better

5 Easy Changes I Made to Feel Better by Jennifer Andersen

A couple of years ago I was about to turn 40. I felt lousy. I was significantly overweight, and couldn't move in the ways I wanted. My skin looked old and frail, I had no energy, my sleep was horrible, and I lived in a near constant mental fog. Lovely. I knew something had to change, but I had no idea what to do- where to start. Though I … Continue Reading...

Are Those Really Natural Consequences?

Are Those Consequences Really Natural? Exploring Natural Consequences by Jennifer Andersen

Sydney is 6 and she loves to create. Her mode of choice last week was modeling clay. She was making cool things- flowers, Minecraft swords, cats, abstract designs. I love watching her work. Each move is intentional and thoughtful. She has a vision, and she figures out how to bring it to fruition. She spends a good chunk of time on some of her … Continue Reading...

5 Changes I’ve Made to Go from Harried Woman to Organized Work at Home Homeschool Mom

by Jennifer Andersen

When I look back to just a couple of years ago, the woman I see is disorganized, not creative. She is confused, and each day seems to pass by in a blur. When the night sets in, she finds herself wondering how all those hours passed. There is  a balance, of course. We want flexibility, spontaneity, and to leave plenty of time for impulse and … Continue Reading...

What I Wish I Knew Before Homeschooling

Mom holding son's hand at playground

I wish I knew then, that I need not send my distraught child away from me, for school- that there is no better place for him, than with me. I wish I knew then that I am capable, that it is possible, and that it is wonderful. I wish I knew then that the joy, connection, freedom, self confidence, and self-worth, that come from homeschooling, … Continue Reading...

Your Child Said No? Let’s Celebrate!

Your Child Said "No"? Let's Celebrate! By Carolyn Flynn,

"No" is a powerful word. Adults use it in daily life to assert themselves, express an opinion, reject unwanted sexual advances, etc. but for some reason, when a child says "No" it is viewed as defiant, and is worthy of punishment. We respond with time-outs, withdrawal of attention, and removal of favored toys. When we strip our toddlers of … Continue Reading...

5 Unique Summer Activities for Non-Hikers in Colorado

5 Unique Summer Activities in Colorado for Non-Hikers

We live in Colorado, but we are not big hikers. Blasphemy, I know! We still find lots of unique and beautiful things to do here though. So if you live in, or are headed to, Colorado this summer, check out these five ways to experience the Rocky Mountain State. If you are looking for something beachy, or out of Colorado- check out the awesome … Continue Reading...

Eating to Feel Good: Clean Plant Based Meal Plan Week 1

Tessemae's Vegan Dressings are as clean as I can find, without making them myself! They are so good!

Notes: Firstly, as I said, I have never done anything like this, so bear with me as I learn! I am all about easy. I will have the same Nutriblast and shake every day, and will use store bought stuff whenever I can. We may not need everything listed on this menu. I find that offering my kids healthy snacks and meals throughout the day is … Continue Reading...

Eating to Feel Good: A Commitment to Feeling Better and Being Happy

Eating to Feel Good: a commitment to feeling better and being happy, sustainably by Jennifer Andersen,

About a year ago, I took the next step in being intentional about our family living. It has led me on a journey filled with self realization, personal discoveries, and the understanding that I have a whole lot of issues surrounding food. Where does this leave me, one year later? With the knowledge that I have to make decisions that are best … Continue Reading...

Sign up!