A Return to Blogging… 4 Years After it All Began

Hi all, Jenna here!

“Who???” You may be asking, “Why is this random person taking over Crystal’s blog?!” You have good reason if you’re actually thinking this, since I’ve been MIA since around mid-August… But enough about that for now. I want to get the good stuff out of the way before I pull you into the bad Lifetime movie that’s been my life these past 4 to 5 months. (If you’re interested, that story is at the end of this post.)

book-emoji-party-timeToday, January 6, 2016, marks the fourth year since I started book blogging. That’s right. In January 2012, I started my first little book blog, Making the Grade, which would transition into Jenna Does Books sometime in early 2013. Fate finally led me to a collaboration with Crystal here on Bookiemoji. Not only in today special for me (because if you ask me, 4 years of blogging is a pretty big deal) but it also has been a full year since Crystal and I opened this blog in January 2015. I cannot believe it has been a WHOLE YEAR!!

Working with Crystal on Bookiemoji has been one of the coolest bookish endeavors I have ever undertaken. It has taught me that some friendships are bigger and more significant than the distances between us. Though she and I have never met in person, I feel closer to Crystal than any of the people I have interacted with over the years – and our bookish family extends to so many whom we both speak with on social media and other blogs, as well. (You know who you are. *cough* see our side bar *cough*)

uppercaseboxWhile I regret that I basically left Crystal high and dry – and with the sole responsibility of taking care of our little bookiemojis – during the later half of this past year, there have certainly been some high points in 2015. We’ve participated in a number of exciting book launches and blog tours, we’ve created over 25 unique bookiemojis (with more to come!), we opened a Society6 store and we were invited to be part of the Uppercase YA book subscription box in June 2015!

There is certainly a lot to cheer about in 2015 – and lots to look forward to in 2016!


To thank you ALL for making Bookiemoji more than we could have hoped for – we’d like to offer a giveaway right here on the blog for our readers and friends. *TWO WINNERS!* ONE person will win a book of their choice (under $20) from the Book Depository (International) and a SECOND person will win an item of their choice (under $25) from our Society6 store, Bookiemoji Designs (US only).

International giveaway is open to wherever Bookdepository.com ships.
Ends January 31, 2016. Must be 13 or older to enter. Void where prohibited.

US Only:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


a Rafflecopter giveaway

I figured I would add this little bit at the end for those who have stuck with this post beyond the giveaways…

If you’re curious as to why I have not been around so much this year, I am going to use this space to talk about it. This will be my first time looking back at these past four or five months as a whole, so forgive me if I ramble. Back on August 20, 2015, my husband of almost 13 years, a man whom I have known for almost 20 years – he is my high school sweetheart and soul mate – fell while at work. He is (or was)Β  an iron worker, a position he has been in for over 15 years. But because of his 35 foot fall this past August, he suffered a severe traumatic brain injury that he didn’t wake up from for over 2 weeks. It kept him in the hospital for 2 months and, since then, he has required weeks and weeks of rehabilitation, doctor appointments and various other procedures. He recently went back to work (not as an iron worker) in mid-December – exactly four months after the fall. Now, almost 5 months later, his road to recovery is still not over and there have been some adjustments in our lives.

The questions at the very beginning involved: “would he make it?” and “what am I going to tell our daughter?” These questions then progressed to: “who would he be when he woke up?” and “is my husband as I know it gone for good?” Then: “will he walk again?” And finally: “will he be able to help support the family?” Well – call it a miracle, or good luck, or just plain stubbornness on the part of my husband and myself – after four of the hardest months of my life, I am happy to share that my husband is alive and well and, aside from sporting a few of the physical “scars” expected after such an injury, he is very much the man he was before (to the amazement of all of his doctors and physicians… and, I admit, even me).

There was a lot of uncertainly during his recovery and rehabilitation. It is still a challenge during those moments when I am reminded of what has happened, the changes in our lives, as well as the uncertainties of what is still to come. If you or anyone you love has ever suffered a brain injury, you know what I mean. If you haven’t or don’t, let’s just say that I would not wish the last handful of months on my own worst enemy (if I had one). I have dealt with everything from anxiety and depression, to moments of great joy, confusion, sadness and everything in between. I have had the best support system anyone could ever ask for, both inside and out of the bookish community. I do not know how I would have gotten through this time period without the support, kindness and love of others.

During this time, I simply went through the motions of day-to-day living. I was on auto-pilot. I forgot about all the things that brought me joy; including reading, my blog, work, music, etc. Only my daughter and visiting my husband at the hospital, and eventually at his inpatient rehabilitation center – day in and day out for months – kept me going. I was so focused on my own world and, even after things improved, I feared I would never regain interest in things like reading or blogging ever again. I tried to stop by Twitter every now and then to stay in touch with friends and to give the obligatory Facebook updates about my husband’s progress (or lack there-of). But even that died down over time. After all these months, I wondered: was it too late to even get back into those things again? Where did my enthusiasm go? Who am I now?

Then (actually very recently) the spark hit me again. I started plowing through books, rather than reading one a month (if I was lucky). I found myself genuine happy. I wanted to find out who I was again, to do the things I enjoy. I discussed these things with friends on Twitter and eventually started the #Back2BasicBlogging hashtag. As a result, I am here in front of you now, committing to read and to blog and to spread my enthusiasm for books once again. I cannot lose who I am. Why on earth would I want to do that?! All because of an event that happened in one single instant, many months ago? One that we both bounced (excuse the pun) back from and, I think, became closer and stronger as a result. Just like my husband will not let his brain injury define him, I, too, will not let these past few months define me.

Traumatic brain injuries are a widespread (over 1.7 million people are impacted by brain injuries each year) yet relatively unknown condition. If you ever want to learn more about what I have gone through, I would recommend reading the book Where is the Mango Princess? A Journey Back From Brain Injury or Chicken Soup for the Soul: Recovering From Traumatic Brain Injuries. They are not easy reads, but they are true and very personal to me.

To learn more about traumatic brain injuries, visit: http://www.brainline.org/.





  1. Sarah K says:

    Jenna! I am soooo glad to hear your husband is doing well. I remember when he fell and I’ve been wondering how both of you were doing. What a miracle that he is both alive and still himself. πŸ™‚ And, glad to have you back. Congrats on the 4 years, that is amazing! I hope this year is full of new, exciting things.

  2. Karina @ A Reader Under The Sea says:

    Congrats on 4 years and 1 year of you and Crystal blogging together!!! This blog with all the cute book emojis has been such a favorite of mine. You guys are an epic duo!!

    I’m also very happy to hear that about your husband!! And I’m glad you’re also back!! <3 <3

  3. Ava says:

    Jenna, I’m so happy you’re back, and that your husband is better! I can’t imagine the pain you and your daughter must have went through, and my thoughts are with you all.

    Congrats on 4 years of blogging, and 1 year of blogging with Crystal!! This blog is amazing, and the two of you make it so.

    I hope you have a wonderful 2016!! Excited to see what the new year brings for your blog. <3

  4. Susan T. says:

    Jenna I’m so sorry you had to go through this! Four years ago I had a brain infection that caused my brain to swell and push up against the inside of my skull. I went from being grad student who could read 6 languages to having to relearn how to read English. It is so frustrating to struggle doing simple, everyday things. I know that it is very difficult for my friends and family too. I wish you and your husband all the best and I’m really glad to hear that he is recovering and thriving!

    • Jenna says:

      Oh, Susan. I am sorry you are having to deal w/ the struggle, as well. My husband had extensive swelling, too, and had to have the bone flap (basically the entire front bone of his forehead from temple to temple) removed in the emergency room. He lived w/ out it for 12 weeks before it was replaced. What a hard time and mind-boggling experience. He was – and still is – a very intelligent man, just like you. He mainly deals w/ emotional and memory issues. I am sorry that you are aware of, and have to deal w/ the effects of, your injury every single day. Your strength and bravery in sharing this with me is admirable – and I thank you.

  5. Chantal says:

    I’m sorry you to go through such terrible things. I’m so glad you are finally back! I cannot believe It has been a year since this blog launched. I followed this blog because of you. I used to be subscribed by email to your Jenna does books blog. I have to say this blog is one of my favorites. The book emoji theme is adorable and awesome I love it. Congrats on 4 years of blogging and I wish you the best of luck with things at home :].

  6. Britt @ Please Feed The Bookworm says:

    Yay! Welcome back my love! Also love you too crystal but you know that! I have told you many time how strong you are and I think it’s perfect and completely your fault that things turned out so well for Nick, you did a great job holding down the fort lady and from one mother to another I know that nothing about that was easy. So glad to be able to have you bookish thoughts (and awesome bookiemoji designs) once again!
    So many huggles!

  7. Serena says:

    Jenna, congrats on four whole years of blogging! So good to see you back in the blogosphere, and I hope to read many more of your words in the near future.
    Also so glad to hear your husband is doing well. Sending you and yours lots of good vibes. xoxo

  8. Sandra Li says:

    I am so sorry for everything that you have been through these last couple of months! I hope your husband continues to heal and you continue to heal as well through books <3 Congrats on a wonderful 4 years and I look forwards to reading your reviews!

  9. Ellie says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about you and your husbands terrible months, but I’m SO glad he’s well and you’ve found your happiness. Here’s to an amazing 2016 for both you and your family!

  10. Danielle says:

    Wow. Thank you for telling your story and I’m so happy that your husband is doing better! That sounds terrifying and I’m glad you took some time for yourself and decided to come back because it was what you *wanted* and are doing it on your own terms. Anyway, I don’t know you, but I’ll be keeping you guys in my thoughts. Hope everything continues to heal and get better.

  11. Angie says:




    Obviously nobody can fault you for auto-pilot mode and being focused on your family over hobbies and things like that. I can't imagine going through what you did and I am so glad you decided to come back to blogging. Always here if you need anything my dearest.

  12. Sarah @ Kerosene Lit says:

    I am so sorry about what happened, and I can’t even imagine the struggle that was. I personally know someone who fell at work, and although he didn’t experience the trauma that your husband endured, it’s such a terrifying thought. I’m a new follower, but I just want to say that I am so happy that everything is well in your world now, and I wish you the very best!

  13. Stephanie B says:

    Ah, welcome back to blogging! It’s nice to see you around again. 4 years of blogging is awesome and quite the achievement. I’m glad your husband is recovering and I hope his recovery continues. I hope to see you around more often, Jenna!

  14. Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction says:

    Hello sweet friend! I am so thrilled to see you posting! You well know that you and Crystal are some of my dearest friends and I was heartbroken at the idea that you’d lost your blogging spark. I am so encouraged by you and what you and your family have overcome. You are my hero (as well as your husband). We have missed you so much and support whatever you feel like doing! I love you!

  15. Bekka says:

    I’m so sorry you had to go through this. We ~vaguely know each other on twitter, I know, but I thought about you a lot and I’m so happy you’re husband is doing well.

    Welcome back to blogging! I enjoyed reading through the back to basics hashtag! It helped me clear my head and remember why I blog in the first place. I’m glad we’ll be seeing you around here more often. πŸ™‚

  16. Trixietraci says:

    So glad you’re back & that your husband has recovered! I can’t even imagine how hard those months were for you.

  17. Carina Olsen says:

    EEEEE! Hi sweetest Jenna πŸ˜€ YAY for blogging again. <3 All the hugs. And aw, congrats on four years of blogging πŸ˜€ That is all kinds of awesome. And hugs, thank you oh so much for this amazing giveaway. <3 You are the best. And aw. I just wanted to let you know that I adore you the most πŸ™‚ And I'm so happy you are doing better, and are reading more, and just feeling more happy. <3 And I am thrilled that your husband is much better too πŸ˜€ YAY! <3 Wishing all of you the very best.

  18. Rachel Lightwood @ Isytria says:

    I am so sorry to hear what your husband has had to go through these past few months! I wish you both all the best. You’re are incredibly brave and persistent, and by the sounds of it you should be proud of everything you have achieved.

    Congrats on the four years, and we cannot wait to see you around the blogosphere more!

  19. Kj says:

    Oh My Gosh – that’s insane – I’m sorry it happened! Sometimes things can happen beyond our control that change us.

    Looking forward to seeing you back on the blogosphere for 2016

  20. Erica @ Novel Ink says:

    I am so sorry for what you had to go with, but so glad to see that your husband is recovering. I just hope things look up even more from here! Congrats on your four years of blogging and welcome back!

  21. Lizzie says:

    I’m so sorry for what happened to you, but it’s great to hear that your husband is recovering. It’s great to see that you’re getting back into blogging, as I love seeing your and Crystal’s posts. Your family is in so many people’s thoughts.

  22. Zulfa says:

    Thank you so much for the giveaway! It’s nice that you’re back to blogging and I remember seeing your book emojis in the uppercase box πŸ˜€

  23. Dianna says:

    So sorry to hear of the terrible tragedy you’ve dealt with. I’m so glad that you’ve been able to find your way back, and that your husband is doing better.

  24. Ana Mafalda Valente says:

    I hope you have a great year of 2016! And that no more bad things happen. I’m glad things are getting better πŸ™‚

  25. monbrielle says:

    Congrats on 4 years and 1 year of you and Crystal blogging together!!! This blog with all the cute book emojis has been such a favorite of mine. Keep going on with the amazing job ^^

  26. Alecia says:

    Congrats on making it this far with your blogging! 4 years is such a long time though it really can go in the blink of an eye. I think you’ve only gotten better and better and will continue doing so.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your husband but I am super glad he seems to making a remarkable recovery. I hope 2016 brings you both love and happiness.

    Thank you for the giveaway! <3

  27. Tayla says:

    Wow 4 years of blogging! I hope 2016 is a better year for you <3 I absolutely love your blog and twitter account, I am a total bookworm!! Keep going with this amazing blog plz, and thanks for the giveaway! <3

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