how i harnessed myself through covid.

So when I decide to endure difficulty, I manage to “harness myself.” It’s a process.

And of course, I am not an easy person to manage. I once had someone tell me I was “high maintenance.”

I consider that a compliment. They just didn’t understand me. Looking back… I realize I was I literally a person of influence, and that “becoming” wasn’t my fault – they just didn’t understand how influence was made.

Influencers are complex. And it’s ok. I dont have to “become” like anyone else. I can be unique, and its ok.

Life in the wilderness….

If you look up one of the definitions of the word HARNESS in the dictionary – you will find these words:

Harness” – to bring under conditions for effective use; gain control over for a particular end: to harness water power; to harness the energy of the sun. Archaic.

 to array in armor or equipments of war.

So deep. “If I am preparing for a war…” I harness myself. I get all the right tools. Amazing.

I felt the grief of this war. It was saddening… painful. Yet freeing in many ways.

War… in fact means : “a state of armed conflict between different nations or states

or different groups within a nation or state.”

Fits perfectly.

I feel like this was what CoVid taught me to do: TO HARNESS myself.

Effectiveness is not taught always… sometimes its endured.

Other definitions are: to rein in, to “tackle, belt or fasten…” sounds Like a trip, right? )Haha)

Well… its interesting that when CoVid began I surely felt like I was on a journey. I knew if I didn’t arrest myself and begin to think about this as a journey, I might not make it through the journey. So… I put on my belt, and I endured.

Buckled up.

Prepared to be ‘sacked’.

Tackled some things.

Some I managed well.

Others… broke me totally apart.

Here are a few things I did for perspective:

I prayed hard.

I took the focus off myself.

I sat in complete quiet for an hour or more.

I napped a whole lot.

I talked to friends I loved.

I lamented with others who were hurting.

I prayed for “them”- whomever ‘them’ were…

I sat in the Sun.

Opened windows.

Went on snowy Walks.

Watched a lot of comedy.

Played with babies.

Prayed some more.

Talked to friends on the phone, & Zoom. {Zoom mostly}.

I cried.

Got lost in worship. {the most freeing…}

I went to random spots to eat, even while nervous.

I held a group on purpose.

I lamented to God and my husband, some more…

I spent time with old pictures.

I tried so hard to journal, …but it was hard.

I stayed up all night.. just writing and making new projects.

I prayed for everyone hurting from the death of George Floyd.

I prayed for George.

I cried some more.

I prayed for black men everywhere.

I prayed for the black men in my family.

I prayed for the 3 new baby boys in my family.

I prayed for their parents as they raised them.

I prayed for ways to find my voice amidst the pain.

I lamented to God.

I allowed myself to feel the hurt.

I thought deeply about hate… and how it kills.

I took care of my parents.

I focused on quality and not quantity.

I practiced gratefulness.

I took pictures with my camera.

I thanked God for the little things.

I changed my diet.

I thought a lot about my future.

I spent time working on projects.

I prayed for my enemies.

I trusted God and asked for a harnessing of my soul.

I am sure I did a whole lot more… but these things helped me quite a bit.

Selah.

My Flavor of Being …Happy

NikonCoolpix
Facebook thoughts…

Happiness has been a journey for me. I wrote this on my post today , and boy …was I surprised what I wrote!

I didn’t expect to write about the “flavor” of my happiness. I laugh inside because I didn’t expect Happiness to have a flavor… (haha) … But it does! Happiness has a taste of butterscotch ice cream or vanilla amaretto something-law, or other.. It’s a savoring kind of taste. something that makes you wants to taste it, like, forever.
I have tasted happiness but not so much until I reached fifty-something, on a consistent basis.

I attribute this to hard work. Hard work involving “working on ME.” I have being doing tons of self-evaluation lately. I had a group of women it began with; yet I ended up doing most of it involving me doing it alone. And I’ve been consistently over the past maybe fifteen years working on it with deep, digging , introspective work.

Here are the words that I feel like deserve some applause:

🌸Confidence

🌸Self-Love

🌸Motivation

🌸Self-Trust.

🌸Settled.

🌸Placed.

🌸Courageous

These words helped me to step out of my comfort zone. Amazing how “one-word” reflection can help you to become intentional. If you’d like to be involved in a process for this, let me know and I’ll coach you through the process .

Chaplain Contemplations: Freedom.

I was trying to think of what walking in my calling looks like. So I began to think about for the first time in my life, my ” heart feels full.”

I mean, I get this full feeling sometimes to the point I cannot even explain the emotion, and then I emotionally feel as if I’m about to explode …with sheer joy.

It’s happened more than once. It really has.

And just recently I looked up the definition of heart”; in the Vines dictionary and found this which so explicitly explains my feelings…

Heart is referred to as:

  1. The seat of physical life
  2. The seat of moral nature and spiritual life
  3. The seat of grief
  4. The seat of the affections
  5. The seat of perceptions
  6. The seat of the thoughts
  7. The seat of the understanding
  8. The seat of reasoning powers
  9. The seat of the imagination
  10. The seat of conscience
  11. The seat of the intentions
  12. The seat of purpose
  13. The seat of the will
  14. The seat of faith

ALL of this.. is in our hearts!! No wonder “out of it flows the issues of life!”

Of our sense of purpose , decision-making , our faith and intentions are all tied up in our heart- even our sorrows – that means everything meaningful flows out of the heart!

That why in that same scripture we ask you to “guard it with all diligence”.

What does it look like for you to guard your heart? It means you watch over everything that concerns your purpose and your sense of well-being. All your hope, all your destiny and all your exchanges in life- with people, friends, family and your children .

What’s in your heart is meaningful and should be kept secured in faith.

Because faith has substance you know. It can take root in your soul and change your lifestyle and change your outlook and perspective in life. It can encourage all those around you and help you to become a more rooted and grounded person.

Selah.

#chaplaincy #chaplainlife #lifeofachaplain

Being Enough & Being Wise.

I was inspired by this series after I participated in a  Celebrate Recovery group and  talking about feeling “helpless”. It was a process for me to discuss in group, because as soon as I  spoke about why I tend to feel worried and procrastinate on some things, I realized that  This vulnerable space I often feel between  not worrying and trusting God  causes me to feel way too vulnerable.
 I Am  Enough Because I Am Wise.

So what does it really mean to be wise?

Does being wise mean… to be humble?

Does it mean we should consult with someone else who has  good advice, can problem-solve, help us manage our lives better or may give good counsel?

Or does it mean simply having good sense In knowing how to respond?

Perhaps.

…Or maybe it means being still enough to take care of our lives  because we care enough about our lives to be safe, discerning and aware.
Perhaps where I am wisest is when I spend time in the presence of friends. I have wise friends. There is a scripture in the bible that says :

“There is safety in a multitude of counselors.”

Proverbs 11:14

I love that scripture. It has resounded over the years with me. I have realized over time that perhaps the best  acumen, has come from  having “experience” as my  teacher. With all my experiences, I have  gained such rewarding  insight from friends who have “showed up”  in my own personal struggles, when I needed such wisdom, – and  sowed complete love and admonition  for me,  and their wise actions and advice, benefited me greatly.  The intuition  and  inspiration was on an entirely different level and  completely humbling most of the times, because I allowed them to pour into me, and  I trusted them.   As a result, I have  compassion for  them and for others who have experienced similar situations.

 It led me to  write my book, Red Sea Situations.

I have many women “mentors”  that have guided me over the years, and who have also  guided me in counsel, and one of them is my mother. I’ve placed her picture here  of my mom, because Mom has been over the years one person who has supported my dreams more than I have even believed in them.
I remember when my ‘far-fetched’ dream of traveling to South Africa  came as an opportunity. Mom was so concerned about me traveling so far not really knowing the people very well, and being safe.  I was traveling with someone  knew, but had not known them for very long. She was excited for me. And so.. She reminded me if ‘God gave you that opportunity, Jennifer – I will have to trust in His divine plan for your life.” That was so humble of her. To trust God beyond seeing her ‘babygirl’ – at age of 38 years –  going so far. She had to place me in God’s hands. And you know that’s cool because God gave her that strength. she expected it to keep her in wisdom, and so wisdom  came.

Mom over the years has supported me in several endeavors, but most of all she has led me to discern friendships that are also “safe emotionally and spiritually.”  I believe this is a lesson all mothers should teach their children.

I believe one of the most humbling  situations I experienced, was  a friend who helped me when I had no where else to go. She had always told me, because she knew I was going through a hard time no matter when or what time it was, whenever I needed a place to go, I could just stop by. One night i thought I was close to losing it, and i knew if I didn’t get out of the house,  I would .  So indeed, I  went over and it was about ten fifteen pm. When I arrived at her  door, her husband answered, he smiled, and  didn’t say a word. All  he said was: “She’s  is upstairs, go ahead on up.”

Clearly, I had been crying, and I slipped past him. When I go to the top of the stairs,  I heard her talking to her boys  in a very sacred moment, and she said , “Come on in, Jenn.” She was there with the two of them, they were about three and six years old, and  she was hugging on them in bed. She made space for me, and  welcomed me in me bed with them. We didn’t talk much that night, we just laid there in quiet and peace. Her boys smiling and  she interacting and mothering them, and I quietly watched them enjoy and love on one another. I’ve  never felt so welcomed.

…And to this day, our bond is unbreakable.

Now, this has nothing to do with me, and my wisdom. However, my friend’s wisdom –  in this moment taught me how to be wise. It taught me how when I am at m lowest point to embrace someone in love and just acceptance, is the very best  action of love. To just be present for them, regardless.  That night, we never spoke much,  I didn’t pour my heart out and all my business.  But her presence, just meant the world to me.

For me, wisdom and love, really are not far  apart. In fact, they are like semi- cousins. I  also found out that I don’t have to know all the details, I just need to love on them.  There’s a time and a season for everything, and sometimes knowledge isn’t necessary. She didn’t know, and still doesn’t know what I was experiencing that evening, but what matters is that I  knew she was there, and that she loved me. To me, that’s agape love. The God-kind of love.

From this one action, I have found that I can love people without words, in such an amazing way, and that it involves just seeing that their soul is so worthy of love. This type of ‘friend -awareness’ has allowed me to be the same kind of friend. It’s also give me a greater burden to be a mentor to my sisters in Christ.   And any other women who need advice in any shade, color or form. I am not particular to them  knowing and loving God, first… I just need to know they are open to my might shining in that regard if I have to share an occasional miracle.

On a lighter note,

I am wise because I am clever.

Cleverness is not  a word I use very much n my vocabulary, yet I find very attractive.

My husband is rather clever. It was attractive to me from the first day I met him. And his cleverness tends to rub off on me at times. Cleverness involves, quick wit, charm, and  wise words, and at times a bit of playfulness. Perhaps the playfulness is the most fun. Being clever involves finding  a certain resourcefulness from within. It’s understanding how to use integrity to teach someone by not reacting. It also involves  not  stooping to a level of  personal embarrassment or  ignorance  because someone else does. Not allowing their impulsive demeanor, unkindness and lack of integrity move me with words. I think I learned how to be clever once I  decide din my mind I didn’t care what others thought about me. It was freeing.  I decided that once I had made up my mind, and it made sense and I had  filtered it through my wisest  friends, and they were in agreement, it was well. And no one’s opinions mattered. My clever quick wit would then pounce back on others when they had comments  or opinions about my  actions in which they did not agree. I admire folk who can take judgment and  crush it as soon as someone swings it at them, and  keeps on  walking without shame or resentment because they are confident they are in a good place.

I am wise because I am contemplative.
Contemplation is one of my favorite things to do. As an introvert, I tend to find myself when I contemplate. Whether it involves speaking to myself, my heart, and pondering the actions of my day I find rest in re-evaluation. If I don’t do re-evaluate, I become restless.
What is in this restless space? Unawareness? A lack of purpose? Dis-alignment? Is that why when I am not looking within, I falter?
I get nervous, my anxiety peaks, or I have a loss for words? I prefer contemplation in order to help me rest. I may not have even realized the extent to which I depend upon what I call : “finding center” Laraine Herring in the book: “Writing Begins With Breath: Embodying your Authentic Voice”, says after the basic needs of food air, water and shelter are met, most of our actions and behaviors stem from a need for love, compassion, understanding and emotional safety.” I find that interesting, because that means if this is true, most of what I seek, when I look within, is about finding self-love.

(Read about  my  self love and being enough in another story, here.)

I must say however; some of the most unwise persons have hurt me. have been unreasonable,  inattentive ungraceful and  ill-mannered people I know, because they lacked compassion.   Indeed, perhaps this scripture measures up when wisdom is most attractive: “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” (Psalm 85:10)

If you enjoyed reading this  excerpt, please take the time to  read the series: Completely Validated & Meditative Thoughts on ‘Being Enough.’ , which will soon be an audio course and workbook series online .

Interested in learning more about being enough and reading more about it?

Contact me below for more info on the  Kamau Care Meditative Series!

For a small price of $15.00, you can have the e-book series audio format where you can download and listen as you go!

saying YES.m To More.

Saying yes.

I was here today. Trying to do that things again.

You , know, say Yes.

It’s like  hard to say that, you know? To say yes when you don’t know what’s behind the door.

Saying YES.. when  all seems to be going against you…

Saying YES… when  I can barely breathe sometimes, You know?

Saying YES… when other things seem to be calling us to higher heights and deeper depths.

Saying YES… to  God. Yes, not No.

Saying YES…  to  everyone  but Him…

Saying YES because I want to …

Saying YES because I NEED to…

But I keep taking risks, and going  there because I want to be there,  so badly.

Yes.

you know that place where grace is always present.

Where ease feels like my best pajamas…

Where hope  rises.

Where peace  rests and rests some more.

In my Yes-es.

Yeah, I want to be there. To see my own reflection and just be that person each and every time, in every way imaginable.  I just want to be there. Where ‘yes’ is.

I want what’s behind the yes.

So….sometimes I see the reflection and grace of knowing yes can help or hurt me.

I see the beauty of yes … although sometimes it still seems so far away sometimes- the power of one little small word.

When I see the sun’s reflection shining through my window, I want to scream “Yes!”

I keep getting these awesome views.

And I rest in them.

The views that reach for me, too.

A few of my Yes-es…

  • Following my dreams,
  • Writing with passion.
  • Seeking God for heart and His desires.
  • Hoping I am fulfilling my purpose in Him.
  • Not getting too caught up in this life,
  • Knowing and understanding there’s another  LIFE to live…
  • Trusting my intuition.
  • Hoping against hope.
  • Sharing and loving on those who need help.
  • Trusting God more and more..
  • Serving.
  • Looking to fulfill, not to take.
  •  Managing what He’s given me, using it wisely, and sowing it back into humanity and lives that never lived… fully.

I believe in more beautiful rays and hopes, and dreams …. deposited in me everyday.

YES!

Lead. Tell The Story. Learn. Let Go.

Brene’ wrote that.

She is awesome because of how she uses her mouth. Her words.

Your life story leadership is your story. Yes and getting past the vulnerability of all, is the challenge.

Think about where you lead.

If you don’t lead, think about where you would like to.

Then, listen to someone else’s story and see how and why they lead.

The Reasons are embedded in the lessons learned; in the heartache…

And the joy found in letting it all go.

It will give you some insight.

She Rocked This.

She rocked this. Christine Mason Miller, that is .

What makes someone want to do this? I think I am going to ask her and then come back with her answer. This is awesome.

Sending messages around the world that are significant thoughts and contemplate change.

Selah. *( Pause and calmly think of that.)

Here’s her answer: “Snail mail has been one of my super powers for a long time. And this tradition of sending out small messages to anyone who needed one started years ago.. I find it especially potent these days with most of our lives taking place on a screen.”

Seeking Normalcy in a Pandemic

The Blessedness Of Being.

I have been thinking about self -love and self-care and why others have such a hard time with it, sometimes . Lately, in the pandemic, I’ve been way too busy. I’ve been a caregiver for parents, I’ve been a mental health therapist, I’ve been a concerned friend. But I haven’t cared for me , like I should. I’ve placed others’ needs above my own and thought less of mine .

When the racial protests happened I felt bad I couldn’t walk with them, because I was trying to be safe from the Corona virus. I compared my suffering to that of others and thought about the consequences; feeling guilty I was not as involved as a activist for social justice issues like this. Yet then, I realized as long as I had a voice my voice would matter , my sharing and transparency mattered, and so did my attention on…

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Mesmerized By The Skies…

Since I was a child I have been mesmerized by the skies.

I’m not sure if it was being raised by parents who just placed in me a sense of wonder and joy, or just had professions where they absorbed the unreachable. Mom was a teacher so learning was her best thing. Mom could teach you , while at the same time cut up peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in front of you and it was the best classroom ever, right there in the kitchen. Often at the table …why I asked her pensively, why the sky was green or why people were so mean inside. One thing for sure, I listened to all this answers and they formulated opinions in my head about how to treat others, myself.

Dad … on the other hand, was a librarian. (Another major absorber… ) sometimes I would see Dad with a book in his hand , reading.. but not often . He mostly seemed to like the interaction with others in how he brought the books to others and the thoughts related to engaging with them. He liked the sense of wonder and conversations that arose from those books. And I think he secretly like also the way I’d visit the bookmobile he drove daily and grab nearly 15 to 20 books every week and get stocked up on my next few that I’d settle into for the next week or weekend.

(I believe both of my parents were grateful they were raising a book nerd, to be honest… maybe I’d stay outta trouble..)

Evening skies. July 2020

Yet Dad nurtured that sense of wonder the most, when he took us on rides in the country . Every Sunday, he would grab his family and we’d go for a Sunday drive. Just looking out our windows, feeling the evening breeze on our cheeks, rising in the breeze and remembering how soft and free it felt on our faces.

I think perhaps I loved it the most.

I was the baby of the family, and I’d get excited, skip and laugh to get in the car. My siblings on the other hand would have scowls and frowns on their faces .. that was until they got about five miles outside the city, and they too would feel the nostalgia.

And everyone would just.. relax. The car would get quiet, we would all get contemplative and just watch the skies. Or… fall asleep.

To this day my siblings and I send each other photos of the sun going down or beautiful skies and photos of nature.

So the nostalgia continues …

Even in our older age.. we are mesmerized by the skies…

Selah.