Quiet.

Quiet is my safe space. I get quiet, and my whole world changes. It’s wisdom for my soul.

I’ve learned over the years that quiet is not just a way of being. It’s a healthy place. A place where growth happens. A place where the world stops and all its ‘chaotic-ness’.

Quiet is a place of security. Where I become my best friend.

Quiet is where I practice self-love.

Quiet is hope for my future.

Quiet is a soft, soft, song. And sometimes without words.

Sometimes I go to this place knowing it will free me and rejuvenate me.

Other times it’s when I lack courage and need to nurture and feed myself only ‘good words’.

And then there are times when Quiet helps me rest. Long for myself and my identity , again. To remember who I am, ‘Whose‘ I am, … and where I belong that’s safe and calm.

Yeah, quiet is my best friend.

It’s a concrete and completely divine way of remembering

That I am special.

Ase’ .

Thank you, Quiet.

Feelings.

If someone asked you how you felt, would you be able to tell them?

Feelings can be hard to pinpoint sometimes.

Someone close to me asked me the other day how was I feeling and I really didn’t have words.

This is a good chart to use when you’re lost with your feelings. Knowing how you feel can help to have perspective on life matters when you don’t know where you stand on a matter.

For instance, if you’re confused, you may need to process with a friend or counselor those feelings before you share them with anyone else, and get clarity.

If you’re sad,… do you know why? What can you do about your sadness? Do you need a day off from work? Do you need to have a break?

Are you exhausted?

What needs to change?

Do you need some perspective on life balance what it means to have it?

When you have perspective, you make better decisions, you feel empowered and more confident in life.

When you can’t identify your feelings you find negative and adverse ways of coping, you shore up your hurts, have major misunderstandings, because you fail to communicate them, and you often feel insecure and falter.

Choose to feel, today.

Take control of your life, risk feeling vulnerable and be in control of your emotional life. You’re so worth it.

4 Reasons Not To Live with Regret.

So… I remember a time in my life when I was really  indecisive.

I remember I was trying to please others so much, I forgot about myself.  In that process, I  made  a lot of decisions that  didn’t give much regard to my life, or  emotional safety. What I wanted out of life, was on the back burner.  I basically lived for the enjoyment and delight of someone else, because I thought that was how you show you love someone. I was so wrong. I had love all confused. And because of that, I had so much inner conflict, insecurity and so much doubt inside of myself. Discord was often in my relationships, and I just had no peace with anyone, so I stayed away from people, mostly. As long as they were not talking about my life, then I was okay with them. I didn’t want anyone telling me what to do and if they offered without my asking, then I was ready to run from them, even those close to me, and who mean a lot to me.

When you don’t have peace inside, everything you do or don’t do, feels like a mistake. You second guess yourself all the time, and you cannot trust your instincts. And when you ignore your instincts, man… you are in T-R-O-U-B-L-E!  I operated in this way so often, I didn’t know who I was , or whether I was coming or going. That means I was lost. After a while, I became so hopeless, I just lost hope altogether. I was just existing. I apologized for everything, I had many qualms with people and the places where I was in life. I carried resentments and as a result, I was just plain miserable. I was annoyed to the point that accepting annoyance was how I lived. But I was so blind to this fact, I simply endured it. It became the norm. I was living with regret. When I looked up the word regret, I found in the thesaurus these words: ” to prey on the mind…have a weight on the mind; leave an aching void.” That’s what regrets feels like. Sorrow, pain, hurt – all the time, and guilt.

Growing up in an alcoholic family, I realized this was the norm for me, ( living with annoyances) which is why I didn’t recognize it when it occurred in a daily basis in my life and relationships. (I know, crazy… right?) But we  do this, because we tend to go with what’s familiar and yet become so comfortable with it, we consider it to be  normal?  How does this happen? You recognize you were annoyed and miserable, yet every single day you find comfort with it? I think deep down inside I knew I was miserable, but I didn’t want to admit it.  I was living with a denial and a numbness that honestly, felt very good, because if I didn’t have to acknowledge it, then  I thought  it was not bothering me. But then, after 11 years of depression, it finally caught up  with me. I was at my wits end. My mental health took a toll on me and I knew I had to change something.

One day my spirit cried out to God, and revealed I was  living with sorrow. I had much so much REGRET about the  situations I found myself in life, the  decisions I had made and  I was suffering from so much sorrow. I was  sad about my life  and I felt trapped. I felt responsible for things I wasn’t even responsible for. The adults in my life blamed me and I took on their issues and their grief to the point, I had no resolve, no contentment and no harmony in my life. It took a lot to admit I was sad. I was really depressed and I had chosen to live like that for  several years. Living in regret.

I remember one morning I spent the entire morning with God in prayer on my back porch.  I was angry, bitter and I was hurting. I was also very stubborn and God used a lot of my grief to help me to recognize  some of the things I held on to were because of pride. I remember  crying out to God with so much pain and  telling God I was  ‘fed up’ and I wanted a new life, and new hope, and a new way of being and doing. As I sat there,  I had a vision in my head of the  image of the woman in the  Bible with whom they  cast stones . (John 8)   These people brought her to Jesus to be condemned. Jesus response  to her accusers was to write on the ground. No one knows what Jesus wrote. But her accusers all left after Jesus  wrote on the ground. He then said : “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.”  I envisioned Jesus as I sat on my porch (with my eyes closed);  write in the ground for me.  As He  wrote, He basically wrote some things  that only I saw, of course.  But what he wrote reminded me of what He desired for me to have. His promises.  I saw that He had much greater intention for me to have good, in my life. I believe it was like that with her accusers, as well. What was important was not what He wrote, but what He said and how what he said, made me feel.  I didn’t feel sorrowful any longer, I was no longer troubled, I was no longer hurting and burdened deeply with regret, and  I  became decisive. I knew instantly that I deserved more, I wanted more and  that I could have more; and I made the decision to do it.

 John 8:7, 10,11 “But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” NASB

Jesus dealt with this woman with such tenderness and grace, that she was in awe.  All the accusers surrounding her also  were also surprised, but they must have understood, because they left too. If we condemn ourselves, with LIVE WITH REGRET.  My relationship with God has taught me I am not worthy of punishment for the  decisions I have made.That’s why he died for us. Once I repent, ask God for help, receive it, then move on. then  comes release. Just like it did for the woman in John 8. This is very important. It’s necessary for living with a clear conscious.

That day on my back porch, I contended with Jesus, in my soul . But I learned three things after my wrangling with God:

1. I had to let go of my past.

2., I couldn’t live in the condemnation, because if I did, I would accept the guilt and regret from my past.

3. I learned I had to move on, because HE didn’t condemn me, and so I had to stop condemning myself.

4. I had to forgive myself.

When you cannot forgive yourself, you don’t remember to be kind, nurturing and self-loving. You forget to forgive yourself. It took years for me to forgive myself for things in my past, even after I made a decision to live a better life and leave those things behind, I knew I was worth more, I knew I deserved more, but it didn’t make me leave the situation or change anything. Here’s what made the difference: accepting God’s forgiveness and allowing His love for me to redeem me.  For me, this was what unraveled the love confusionI learned that if I accepted God’s love first and allowed this to be my foundation for loving others and BEING LOVED… then I would be alright.  Once I was certain God has forgiven me and wanted more for me, I began to move towards freedom, and I never looked back. I fond resolve. But I have to give God my regrets. 

People are often amazed by how much peace I seem to have.  Let me tell you, I am not perfect. I still struggle, even. And although I have peace , now…  It took a very long time to get here. After I  got through the muck and the mess of my own regrets, I was able to stand again on my own two feet.   Of course,  some of the way, God carried me to be honest. But I made it to the other side. Now that I am here, it ‘s pertinent I tell the story of how I made it here, so others could be set free as well.

Amen & Selah.reflection

Seeking Normalcy in a Pandemic

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 friends who were suffering the same.

“Even our pain and hurt should not be compared and ranked .” (Brene’ Brown)

These were Brene ‘ Brown’s  soothing words while experiencing this crisis. I don’t know about you but I’ve had a range of emotions during this ” stuck at home time.”

Brene encourages is by saying: “Don’t ration love.” We need to up the ante on self-love. Self-love is not something I often think about ; but oh do I need more of it!

Though it’s hard sometimes, I find the need to just stop, slow down, and take morning baths. Why? Because morning baths are soothing, relaxing and set the tempo for the rest of my day.

I also read  on self- development and  how to be my best self,  take notes and meditate on learning points through the week. Why? Because knowledge is always present , and I am ever- evolving. And I need this meditative , contemplative part of me to be a sanctuary for a sound mind.
I have other self- soothing tips during this season. But self-love is an ‘acquired taste’ for me, and it takes thoughtfulness , meaning-making and time to pause.

“We need to attend to our own emotions, so we can be also present for others.”

I am not certain I’ve been very consistent with this. There are times I didn’t want to even think about how I felt. Being numb and not thinking much, just felt safer. But then I realized “there’s safety in a multitude of counselors.” (Scripture) And this safety is wrapped up in the arms of those who comforted me and believed I wasn’t alone. With them in my life,  life is just better.

We should never compare our suffering, emotions or affect with other-suffering. We should not deny or double down on our feelings. This invites shame, says Brene’ Brown.

Listen in to the Unlocking Us Podcast with Brene’ Brown, here. 

 

 

I’m Still Here.

Still transitioning.

Months later . It’s late Autumn. A cross country trip; relocation from Tulsa, OK. – two months off of work, and just trying to adjust to cold weather. I’m convinced cold weather just isn’t my thing. Maybe it’s for the very tough people who can handle the whipping winds, the blowing snows, the windy rain, and the breezy and cool evenings.

The wind is so very different in New York than in the Midwest. I used to know when’s the wind spoke to us in Oklahoma, because it was usually at its highest peak, around April and May. It’s seasonal and expected.It also comes with tornadic weather.

Wind here comes suddenly, and unexpectedly, and sometimes it really moves me inside when I don’t want to be. In fact, sometimes I’m downright angry it’s so windy.

On another note, …I’m looking for the right hat, and I’m so frustrated I haven’t found it yet.

Well, I guess I’m over my rant. One thing I can appreciate about the weather now is the beautiful trees and gracious hills of New York, and the beautiful fall colors. I’m learning the beautiful views exist in everything. Even if it’s the not-so-kind weather .

The picturesque skies of NY
My photo Countryside

I don’t remember being quite in awe about a drive through the country as I was, about a month ago. This view just captured me through my car window.

So…I’m still here.

I’m recognizing there’s beautiful moments in small things and being home again after 15 years or more- is about fun with the family . I mean , I can’t take back moments like ( below) , with my siblings ,and parents. I celebrated my birthday this week. I’m fifty two . And this is what fifty two looks like on me.

Me. On my birthday, 10-14-19.
My sibling closest in age to me, Jeff
My eldest sibling, Dee.

So I’m not complaining, just grieving . Grieving some of the old. And getting used to the new. Maybe there were some things I took for granted. Like the sun always shining, mild weather that often made you feel snug and warm inside, and I lived near a river and water and anytime I needed to breathe, I’d go right outside my window and breathe .

I loved the Tulsa, Oklahoma weather more than I knew and the mellowness of the skies and wind, obviously – after the Spring storms came through and blessed our space with tornadic storms.

I’m learning loving means leaning on the good and making the meaningful moments count, despite it all….

So ,…I’m still here. Just have to find myself in nature, again.

Fairport, New York

Fairport is a beautiful place. Just one of the beautiful small towns in New York.

I love these small towns because they are small. Quaint. And picturesque. The colors match the sky . Very unintentionally.

And on a good day… you can listen and hear ‘summertime’ in the air , no matter what season it ’tis.

If you get a chance to experience New York, don’t just go for the city; there’s so much more, out there.

 

Taking Care of My Soul.

img_9604-1It’s so  very interesting how patience plays into our care of the soul. Almost two months ago, I left Tulsa Oklahoma, tense and overwhelmed and anxious. Across country moves just seem to impact me in that way. I’ve done two of them, in my lifetime. And as much as I plan to be calm and take time off in advance, it just doesn’t work out that way. There’s always something to be concerned about:

Will there be enough income  for the transition ?

Will we like where we are going?

Will totally dislike  the cold?

Wil I make friends easily?

Will I enjoy my job?

So I’ve been out of work now for almost two months. I didn’t plan on that. Just took them a month to have me approved. It’s like, really?  (They don’t manage  job contracts as smooth as  they used to .)

Okay, so now I’m in this place of much more calm and grace and gratefulness. It seems like no matter the amount of time it took, it took this ‘much needed ‘ time to  rest and rejuvenate and re- order my steps.

Everyday I’ve tried to stop and be grateful for at least one thing, then I’d acquiesce ll over again . And breathe. When I’m anxious and uptight , I tend to forget to breathe , and I tend to forget to express thanks for where I am.

Perspective matters.

I really didn’t think I  needed this, but apparently my soul knew I needed it. I’m currently in central NY in a beautiful hotel for the past few days – soaking up sunny days and  breathing in fresh fall air.  Enjoying time as the trees change into their beautiful autumn hues. And I have time to do this, so I’m thankful.

So the next time you’re complaining about how long something takes, just stop and think about where’s the grace in it. What are you grateful for?

Where does your soul align with the process?

And how much are you frustrating grace in the process?

Receive the good, and abandon the eat that isn’t quite helpful.

My soul aligning with “the process”.Receive your new beginning.

Selah.

Cultivating Motivation.

What keeps you motivated? I remember grappling with this question over a period of time- maybe ten years. I didn’t realize I was ‘grappling’ because I was sincerely depressed in my life. it’s extremely hard to be happy when life sucks.

I was so discouraged with myself. I couldn’t remain motivated. But I was also depressed, in a long marriage that had run its course, and I need a new take on life.

With motivation, it seemed as though I’d start, feel good about myself & my life, , then I’d lose motivation . Couldn’t seem to figure out why, though .

I didn’t connect my love life, my relationship, and my sadness to my motivation. My love life was not loving. My peace had been invaded. I was living life out of desperation and dependence- not in faith and with resolve.

I needed an encouraging partner, I needed to value myself and my friendships and have friends that helped motivate me and kept me accountable, and I needed self-care. Once I began to prioritize these values, my life began to change.

Once I had had a friend who was willing to help keep me accountable and kind of tutored me in this area, it seemed to help. I would keep her accountable for a few things, and she’s do the same for me.

For a while, we realized we weren’t using our time right. So we’d study a few things about developing margin in our lives and that helped immensely. It helped to have a friend who cared. We even prayed together about what our goals were and what we wanted to change.

I made the connection as i gained wisdom, that motivation comes from within. It’s a discipline of the heart and soul. It’s being specific about what you desire, then finding the courage within, and the support to pursue it. I didn’t come to this realization until the age of 38 years old . Wish I did. I might have been more focused, much sooner.

Made it to the beach last week!

Sometimes we live thinking there’s so much more out there than what we’re living. The truth is, we haven’t really lived until we’ve possessed what our soul really desires.

For instance, my soul wanted the best visit to a beach, last weekend. And I sought it out until I got it . Small choice… yet very meaningful for me. I had the best experience and memories on that beach… because I was ‘open’ to receiving it.

And … of course, I went with my best friend …(He enjoyed it too, after I asked a few times. Check out that smile.)

So here’s some questions to ask yourself about Motivation:

The first question is:

1.”What does your soul (your mind, will and emotions) desire?”

The second question is:

2. How important is it to you? Is it really something your soul needs?

The third question is:

3. How do you make room in your life to do it? ( I highly recommend getting a partner.) ☺️

And sometimes you have to just try several ways of meeting the needs of your soul, before you find out. Pull out some paper and brainstorm some tactics that might work.

Do you need to go to that special place ‘right after work’ so it really happens? Do you need to get a babysitter on Saturday morning while your kid is still in bed – for a few hours to make it happen ? Join a club similar to http://www.MeetUp.com? Find and accountability partner?

Or do you simply need to just be spontaneous ? Spontaneity was my focus word this year- guess I made it happen.)

Just remember: How ‘you possess your soul‘ and how someone else ‘possesses’ their own soul , may be totally different.

But do possess your soul.

It’s so worth it..

Surrender.

Today, I laid on my Mama’s & Daddy’s living room floor in full surrender and almost fell asleep. My soul felt good lying there, just thinking about the new life I was now creating. It’s only been a few days.

Sometimes some of the most beautiful sights and experiences can happen in some of the most vulnerable places.

I’m still writing about my move, because it’s such a humongous loss. It’s gain, because I’m entering into a new , wonderful place to live, but it’s also been a challenging move.

I not only miss my friends, I miss an awesome church family, and I miss my life there. I left a fairly good job that I loved; working with women who were close to my heart for the potential they had in their futures.

I felt on purpose.

And then… without much warning.. maybe two months of it, it’s all gone.

Or is it?

I’m not certain it’s all gone, but it’s definitely shifted.

Into a new place in my life. Placed on a shelf like a badge of honor and blessings overflow.

But you know, you cannot then your back on good things, unless you know there more out there for you .

And so I surrender…

I acquiesce .

And I make a conscious choice to go forward; leaving everything familiar behind. And I choose life.An entirely new life, because I can. And , because my life leans forward for new things, blessed things, a calling that is sure, destined and meant to be.

It’s not scary, it’s just unknown . And where some choose to stay comfy – and take no leaps because ‘a leaping life‘ could absolutely different than before , I chose this new life because I’m sort of addicted to adventure.

And adventure in this life, could look like surrender, in the next. And that’s quite fine. It’s so alright.

As I sat on the floor in full surrender; my siblings asked if I wanted a chair, and I said ‘No.’

No chairs. Full surrender . No extra supports.

I realized talking to family recently, why my move from Tulsa, OK to N.Y. was so challenging for me. I’ve developed a sense of family & community there that consists of friends and very special connections . And my, … I had no idea it had grown so full of sentiment for me. Perhaps it isn’t until you leave a people you love, you realize just how special they’ve been.

It’s a good thing… surrender. And so I’m learning in my surrender, to also soar.

Wow!

New beginnings happen every day. Sometimes they happen by choice. Oftentimes, they happen of our own volition and personal priorities. I was thinking today about how I got here to where I am , today. For some reason, my spiritual life led me back to my hometown. Now I have to determine if I desire to settle here in Rochester, NY for a while and just live the life, or determine if I desire to live elsewhere one day.

You see, I have grown to love nice weather. Mostly because I love nature. And Oklahoma did that to me. I never went outside much, in Texas – when I lived there , but Oklahoma… I loved. I loved near a river walk, and bike riding and spending time with friends walking in the woods and sitting in the sun was awesome.

So I have a lot to think about. & I think I’ll let the Lord of the Universe in on my plans because He knows how to make them come true.

I’ll check back in on this dream and let you know how I’m doing in a few months.

In the meantime, think about how you can start a new beginning, very intentionally.

What will it take?

For me it took a lot of courage, emotional control and prayer. Self care was on overdrive, as well. I had to focus a lot, and pull away from others . And be still.

This is my second move across country ; and downsizing was NOT easy. But I managed. It hurt to get rid of so much. But I’m excited about beginning again.

Peace,

Jenn