When you buy items from the Amazon links below, we get a small percentage of the sale. That helps us fund the site. And we like you a lot.

  • The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
    The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
    by Deb Perelman
  • Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients
    Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients
    by Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafito
  • Savory Sweet Life: 100 Simply Delicious Recipes for Every Family Occasion
    Savory Sweet Life: 100 Simply Delicious Recipes for Every Family Occasion
    by Alice Currah
  • The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier
    The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier
    by Ree Drummond
  • Bouchon Bakery
    Bouchon Bakery
    by Thomas Keller, Sebastien Rouxel

« the pioneer woman, black dress socks, boxers, and gin | Main | Strawberry Sidecars with Fresh Strawberry Jam and Lime Sugar »

a fund for jennie (and we're back)

Doors at Big Summer Potluck 2011
Hey. You good? Great. We are, too.
Since we were last drinking strawberry jam sidecars, a lot has happened to us, most of it really, really good. Really.

In the last two months, we decided to move to Atlanta so I (Chris) could start a new job. And I love it. Really, really love it. Love it more than any job I’ve had (sorry to all my old colleagues. I love you lots, but I really love this job and this company).

And Karen and I have had to spend a month with me traveling home on weekends to NJ, getting the house ready for sale, having an offer on the house fall through while we take out the garbage, say good bye to friends, mow the grass, pack the cooking books, make sure all the important stuffed animals for the kids made it into the minivan before we left NJ, return cable boxes, cry periodically because the stress is all too much even if it’s really good stress, sign up for a new preschool for the kids, buy a second car, rent a new house in Atlanta, go to Big Summer Potluck 2, say good bye to our son’s Tae Kwon Do teacher who is much loved (orange belt!), get our minivan towed in NYC when we went to visit Sarabeth at her amazing bakery in Chelsea Market, explain to the kids four Sundays in a row why they couldn’t get on a plane with me to go back to Atlanta, go into the city to buy a box of Doughnut Plant doughnuts one more time, make the drive down to Atlanta for a second time - this time for good, sleep on bad air mattresses, get new child locks on the doors of the rental house because our children assume all doors should be opened at all hours of the day causing us to run around screaming their names until we find them hanging out in front of the new house, hold each other a lot, and drink several glasses of wine. Several.

So that’s what we were doing.
And we are good, if somewhat stirred and shaken. We are good.

And then our friend’s husband died. 



The news came across Twitter, and I sat frozen for 10 minutes, unsure of what to do. 

I have never ached for my family quite so much as I did that moment, that entire week, with me in Atlanta and them back in NJ. We had just seen Jennifer, a fantastic food blogger and special friend, a week before at Big Summer Potluck as she played most of the day with the beautiful daughter of GlutenFreeGirl and GlutenFreeChef. I shouted her name early in the day, echoing across the field where we had breakfast and raised a hand high in the air, getting a smile from her. I remember thinking how kind it was of Jennie to focus her attention on their daughter so Mom and Dad could focus on the conference/potluck. And then I realized how this wasn’t a sacrifice for Jennie at all...this is just who she is. Of course she was focused on making the day easier for Shauna and Danny. Lucy with her dad, Danny @glutenfreechef

That’s just who she is.

It’s hard not to personalize someone else’s loss, but I can't help it this time. The death of Mikey, Jennie's husband, isn’t about me and Karen, and I cannot imagine the pain and confusion Jennie and her daughters are experiencing every single day as they figure out what to do next. But I do know that I cannot imagine life without Karen, and I do not want to imagine their lives without me. Not because I’m so great, so wonderful, but because I adore my wife and my children in ways that I simply cannot explain, in ways that I feel so deeply that it shatters me to my core to think about leaving them behind. Because I do not want them to have to figure out what comes next for them without me. 
And also because I find it impossible to type these words without closing the door so no one can hear me cry.

So a big part of me cannot help but think of how much Mikey would never, ever have wanted to leave his girls, all three of them, behind. That he never wanted to saddle them with a burden of him being gone. And that thinking about leaving them would absolutely shatter him to his core.

A group of beautiful friends have set up a site to help bloggers in need. The group is called Bloggers without Borders. They’re collecting donations to help Jennie with the mortgage and insurance and life without Mikey.

As a husband and a father, I would want to know that my family was surrounded by people who loved them almost as much as I did, if I couldn't be with them anymore.

So if you can spare anything at all, please donate to Jennie and her daughters. And for three of you who post below in the comments that you donated, we’ll send you a batch of Chocolate Chunk Cookies to say thanks. It doesn't matter if you donate a dollar or a thousand, if you've clicked on the button on our site or someone else's site. Just drop your name down below and you entered and good to go. These are the cookies from our first recipe post here on the site, those best chocolate chip cookies ever from Alice at Savory Sweet Life. They're good. Really good.

We just want to say thanks.

Really. Thanks.


Donate to Bloggers Without Borders 

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (20)

Lovely. Thank you. (wiping tears) I love the chocolate cookie touch, too.

August 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAimee @ Simple Bites

How very sweet. A chance to taste your cooking/cookies?! I'll toss my hat in the ring (aka comment in the comment box). I donated this morning when I saw @myfoodthoughts blog post via Twitter. The food-blogging community is amazing.

August 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCooks_Books

Just when I thought I couldn't POSSIBLY shed another tear over Jennie and her tragic loss, you helped me remember that life isn't about anything but living the best life possible...and I am failing miserably at it.
I've been a mess.... but there's hope... because today is not over. I still have a chance to do something wonderful. I'm going to click that big, lovely button and give as much as my wallet will spill out to Jennie and her beautiful girls.

Thank you for opening my eyes to the reality of life's fragility....

August 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBecca H

i luv you guys . . . and i can't quit you either . . . i just can't . . .

August 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSMITH BITES

Beautiful post. Your words brought tears to my eyes.
I think it's amazing how the blogging community has come together to help. It's restored my belief that there are good people out there. I will be donating as well.

August 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLynn

This is so heartfelt and amazing. I wish you guys were still in NJ. Hotlanta is lucky to have you. :)

August 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterelizabeth

I was honored to help with a donation and continue to solicit funds in the non-blogger community. All too often, we ask ourselves how we can help. Today we have a clear path to make a direct difference in someone's life. Everyone do without one of our conveniences for a week or two to channel a little into the fund. Thank you for paying it forward.

WOW. Such a moving image as I can still hear the echo of your voice across the field. Beautiful.
and so sad.

August 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterA Canadian Foodie

Chris, you are a very special man. I know that your loved ones and your friends know it to be true. Anyone who reads this will know so too. Bless you and your family and may God keep you all safe.

I donated this morning at Brian's site, I just needed you to know. I will gratefully decline your generous offer of cookies. I gave because I wanted to help make a difference, to let Jennie know that people she doesn't know, are thinking and praying for her and her girls and eager to do what we are able to. Months down the road, I hope she will know that we are still here, for however long she needs us to be.

August 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPaula

Chris, if anyone didn't already know how much you love - your family, your friends, your life - they do now. You are kind and generous with your spirit that I feel very lucky to know you. You and Karen deserve only the best things in this world.

I'm so happy to be a part of a community that is so willing to spread their love for Jennie.


August 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAdryon

Chris, what a sweet and thoughtful post. I love what all of you have been doing (and posting) in honor of Jennie and Mikey. I didn't know them or their blog but the stories have truly been touching.

I donated through your link here. Through all of this wonderful support, I know that this will ease Jennie and her children little by little through their time of loss.

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZoe

I donated...I just feel bad that I couldn't give more. I'm glad to see the blogging community come together and help each other.

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNutmeg Nanny

Donating tomorrow when I get paid. If my name comes out of the hat, send my cookies to Jennie and her girls.

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBirdie

I don't have a lot of extra cash lying around these days, but I'm always touched by what the blogging community can do to help others and have contributed what I can. I can't imagine Jennie's pain at the moment, but anything I can do to help ease her life I'm happy to do.

Hugs, glad to have you guys in the peachy-keen state.

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary at n00bcakes

So touching how this community has come together to support Jennie and her family during this difficult time.

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJeanette

I have only now found your blog through Bloggers without Borders while donating. Your post was so very touching, while the moving description was so very entertaining. Will definitely be back!

What a fabulous idea Birdie had above. If my post is lucky enough to be chosen, please send my cookies to Jennie and the girls.


August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNette

I'm so incredibly sorry to hear such sad news. I don't know Jennie and I can't begin to imagine what she's going through, but it still makes you feel so helpless, so thank you for sharing her story and giving us something we can do to help a little. I agree with whoever said to send the cookies to Jennie and her girls if my name is drawn.

I'm so glad you are all enjoying Atlanta, even if you like your current job better than when you worked with me!

August 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen

What a beautiful post. I have never met Jennie but was moved by this horrible tragedy and posted the BwoB link on my blog as well. Every little bit helps. I'd like to echo Nette, if I win the cookies, send them to Jennie and her girls.

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel @ Not Rachael Ray

I just donated on behalf of our foursome, The Greater Boston Gala Girls. We've never met Jennie but we're four working moms with 10 kids between us and can't fathom what she's going through. Our mission is to help busy people like us find time to enjoy time with their friends and loved ones, and seeing Jennie's message speaks loudly to us and hopefully to everyone. Time is today and make the most of it.

August 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlex Shumway

Jennie and her girls are in my thoughts. Just donated. Hope it helps.

August 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCelia Canning
Comments for this entry have been disabled. Additional comments may not be added to this entry at this time.