My Journal (& Processing Life)…

I guess I’m back to journaling .. and sharing my heart with you all here…☺️

It’s really a wonderful season I’m in, so I wanted to share here some of those blessings and the mindset God gives me as I make shifts and transitions .

Ever felt like you had to go back to the place you were from to heal some of the things in life that you never really addressed fully? I think that’s why I’m back home after almost 27 years of being away.

Although a bit daunting, it also been a breather .. a releasing of sorts… an enlivened moment of peace, joy and security as I find my niche in anew city and try to reclaim my roots and my personhood.

‘Settled’ was one of my words for 2020, as I entered a new year, and the word “Rooted” showed up as I sought out the word. I am planning on being Rooted.. Or expecting on being rooted, I should say.. looking for roots and foundation in a way I never have… asking .. seeking.. finding… they are all good as the revelations flow and this discovery finds ME.

Selah.

It’s going on my seventh month as a New Yorker again, and I’m quite delighted to be in a place of “Sincere Growth.” I’ve been planted in a great church that is concerned about my growth spiritually, and my purpose. It feels good. I love the smallness of it, and the people seem focused and ready to do exploits in God.

The pastor who spoke today spoke on getting ‘ planted ‘ and being with your tribe . I remember when I was in South Africa; although I didn’t know the people, it get so good to fool them for three mins of even, as I responded the South African language : when they said: Dumela Akai?“ (“How are you”? ) & if said firmly and loudly in response: “Kite!” ( pr.Keetay” ) -which means (Fine!)☺️💜It was as I was South African, they thought I was one of them. It was wonderful. And they were so kind to welcome me home.

‘Welcome home’ is such a blessing, they offer, when they welcome you back to the Motherland it does feel like home. Unexplainably, a place that’s foreign , could feel so familiar… And boy…was I welcomed! from the food to the parties, to the youth rallies, to eating the food, walking through flea markets, enjoying church services, having youth run up to me and hug me, and even in visiting foster homes as a social worker & speaking to youth about their dreams in schools.

As I contemplate on this journey, I also feel welcomed by God in N.Y. I feel His presence as being affirming, Loving, kind, as as I feel a shift in the familiarity, I feel “Welcomed.” By Him. He loves me.

And in this welcomed space is Healing. I’m just expecting it to be a part of the territory. I am.

Don’t be surprised what I share later this year as I become.

Watch out Rochester! I got something for ya!☺️👍🏾💜

Identity Stories…

Once , when I was in South Africa, I was exhorting a class on their King & Queendom history and saying how proud I was to finally be on African soil, because I was now home. And I told them how I felt it was a privilege to meet them, and how much they were blessing my life to be present with them. A young lady spoke up in this class with while teaching & proudly informed me – quite “prophetically” and ingeniously that “We Are All Trees.” She was speaking to our strength and endurance as an African people and speaking very proudly of her heritage and inheritance. Every since this day occurred in May of 2003; I haven’t been the same.

I stand a little taller, I teach a little firmer, I smile a lot more, and I speak up for myself. I haven’t lost my voice. These four words have transformed my life. And perhaps it’s why I love trees so much .

One day while in the woods in Tulsa, Oklahoma- I merged two photos and this photo came to be. I believe spiritually, it was a reminder of my Strength, Resiliency. Depth, and Virtue . I’ll never be the same .

Mountains… or Hills?

I am in Dansville, New York today. Just left a really pensive session about family, & what it means to me. I admired the atmosphere; being surrounded by mountains on each side. I kept taking in the views, and exclaiming how beautiful the mountains were, and one of the residents of the community said to me: “Oh those aren’t mountains, they’re hills.”

I smiled and said to myself…”They’re mountains to me.” You see, whether they are mountains or hills depends on the person. The power mountains give us – and the power the hills give us – they may be the same … or not .

I recall a time enduring a very difficult season and it was like my drives in my car during this season of my life were instructing me. I was traveling through a small town and there was this particular part of town where I noticed once – that the mountains had reduced in size!

I wondered to myself : “How did that happen!?” And I realized internally, my perspective had shifted.

Just like that.

Sometimes the life seasons we endure cause us to shift and change (snap!) just like that.

Driving those those small towns I had being enduring a really hard season in my life. And the trees and the mountains were so meaningful. They reminded me of how powerless I am, in comparison to the beauty of this world, and God’s power. God was teaching me. Informing me of my perspective. Stretching me…molding me… shaping me and causing me to shift.

I love mountains and I love hills.

The point is, no matter whether they are mountains or hills, they still encourage me. They still inspire my soul. They still make me think about the wonder of this world and how small I am in it,.. and sometimes my perspective, too.

Thank God for shifts.❤️

Oh, and mountains…☺️

Intuition & Wide Open Spaces

Ever need to just stop and think?

Get away from the hustle and bustle in life and reflect?

I do, quite often.

I had some epiphanies about my intuitive power this week, because I spent a lot of time alone.

I went on a business trip with my husband and was in a foreign city; a place I was unfamiliar with, but loved the space and experience it offered me.

People walked down the street, and I decided: Do I stay on this side of the street, or cross over? I felt vulnerable. I took Lyft, for the first time. It felt safe. But it was a first. As I experienced Lyft, my driver joked: Do I look like I’ll hurt someone? ( I thought to myself: “What does looking like you’ll hurt someone look like?“) And then I checked her license plate number. Yeah…she was old and about 85, but I still took precaution, cause I was in a new space, and this was my life.

I have significance .

I have worth.

Truly…It wasn’t about you.

Sometimes it’s not about them, it’s about us.

When you’re in a wide open space, ( i.e. feeling all alone, isolated, or a bit off track …) ; you don’t have to many familiar faces;… everything feels uncomfortable, and life presents different realities… and sometimes you have to breathe, relax , and just take it all in.

Think about what you really want

Think about what you really need…

Then do that next right thing; make that extra effort, do one more thing in that positive direction to help catapult you reach the next intuitive state in life. Think higher… be better… demand more.

I felt this way, over the course of the past four days – on this trip where I needed to make good use of my time… And though vulnerable as hell, I took care of myself and I was safe. Self-doubt tried to creep in about some decisions I’d made in regard to safety; but then I thought: ” I’m worth making this safe step. Err on the side of safety, Jenn. Even if it does cost ya, a bit.”

My intuition spoke to me.

It spoke to my worth. My value.

Your intuition will speak to you.

Do you listen to it, or do you choose not to listen in those vulnerable spaces?

Do you block it our with rationalizations and self-judgements? Or other-judgement?

Or do you lean in, and evaluate those thoughts and…think again?

Your intuition is your spiritual self . And everyone has a soul, a body, and a spirit.

Do you linger there enough to listen?

You might just learn how wise you really are.

What Makes Me Smile.

Outside Poughkeepsie, NY

I have been thinking lately of what makes me happy.

I’ve decided not to settle for less than what genuinely makes me happy. Eating well, spending time with friends, traveling, talking to friends and catching up especially if I haven’t seen them in quite some time…

And laughing.

I decided laughing isn’t underrated. I just need to find stuff that makes me laugh more.

I was sitting in a room today at breakfast time , in public and the laughter of a little kid just reminded me that I don’t giggle enough . And also- how much I love the laughter of little ones.

Stopping and choosing to smile is a conscious decision, these days. I chose to smile with great intent when I joined my church, when i married my husband, when I found two special friends who made me smile… a lot. I chose to smile when I sat in this beautiful garden space this morning.

Choosing to set myself in places that make me feel happy, and comfortable and loved, are important. So I must commit to more. Join me as I think about what makes me happy, daily, weekly… if you haven’t asked yourself very intentionally – “what makes me smile?”

Then you need to begin.

But giggle a little too… be giddy.

It’s quite alright.☺️

Full Circle Moment.

Still writing about my changes and my transitions with my move to New York…

Sometimes I have to be patient with myself…and it requires yielding without protesting . There’s a word for it. It’s called acquiescing . I mean, that’s what you do when your soul fights ( that’s a strong word, yet an accurate word)… against your spirit. Today, in service, one of the pastors talked about how taking care of our spirit is easy. It’s our souls we wrestle with the most. So ttrue. I agree. That’s what I’m struggling with a bit ,right now.

I have several friends who transitioned with me, this year. New beginnings are sprouting all over. Friends having babies, taking on new assignments,( me included) and going back to school, … & sometimes I stare into a pensive world , just contemplating the magnitude of what I’m about to begin. I love working with mothers ; yet I’ve never had children of my own. It’s the weirdest thing … I do have children that were my husbands children first, and they are amazing. And though I don’t get to spend a lot of time with them; it’s s blessing when I do get to see them. One of our children is marrying this year , & it’s definitely an exciting time for them.

My experience with this transition has brought exciting new beginnings; yet several losses and transitions. And as I feel saddened in my heart and soul- I feel the time I’ve had to reflect, and spend time writing, and get my life in order has been so necessary . At first I complained about having to wait a month to start work. And then, I thought about the time I usually need to “settle in”. We need to search for apartments, prepare my mind and thoughts for what’s to come ; think about all the new beginnings and new job, and new people I’ll meet, and adjust to new temperatures and seasons.

Night life in Tulsa, OK.

So yes, even with the grieving of friends and a city I was very familiar with, in Tulsa, OK. I accept this new city in NY, the job and transition, and the new expectations of me that will merit a “new me.”

I’m the person that loves new things . New experiences, new life, starting from scratch, and making new friends . My purpose could never be clearer. Yet it’s kind of scary, when it’s new. I have to remind myself the vulnerable state I’m in is a good thing. It’s not negative in any way; I just need to remember that so have a hope and a future and I need this transition to “make me.”

A friend mentioned to me recently : “Well it must feel good to know your assignment in Tulsa is over.” I laughed, because she would think of it that way. And inasmuch as I agree that the assignment was over; my reservation about future occupation being so unknown scared me to death. I’ve been journaling this time in my life to make sense of the changes. The blessings are unimaginable . I mean I get to see my parents every day, be around family and watch grand nieces & nephews grow up , and I get to pursue my dreams in the city where I was born and give back to the community. Nothing like giving back to where you came from. And it feels surreal, because it’s also at the hospital – my job is located – where I was born . Same hospital . Almost 52 years ago. As I think about all the mothers and children I’m about to help, I can’t help but wonder if this is my destiny . I think about where my mother was back in October of 1967, when she had me, and how stable her life was and whether she needed the type of program I’m about to work in and be a part of – helping stabilize women with mental health needs. I can see Full Circle happening , I define this moment as the time when you return to a former state that you were in before; yet all things become new again , in you.

Is it a do-over? Are you doing something over because it was done wrong before? Or are you returning to the old to do new works?

I choose to believe the latter.

So interesting how right before I left Tulsa, I spoke to a small group of women about going Full Circle; “ the one thing you must remember is you’ll never know how fulfilling that moment can be, unless you take the leap.”, ( I passionately said to them) . And yet, I myself was embracing the concept , in that moment. I didn’t know I was speaking to myself.

Oh well…😚 I guess it’s that time.

Selah.

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

Taking Flight.

Today I caught a plane. I remember when I used to be so excited to get in planes and travel . I almost even took a job once that allowed me to travel, the time just wasn’t right.

I had just gotten married and I was not willing to take the risk of losing my independence or identity when we were supposed to be gaining it.

So I turned it down.

I thought I had lost a really great opportunity, yet i made the sacrifice. I’ll never forget that that sacrifice was so worth it. I was able to really build upon my relationship with my husband, sing in a choir with him as his partner and host several meetings at our home with people we’d forever cherish relationships with .

It was an exciting time. I was living in Texas, and really loving the environment . I was also very happy to be with my best friend and living only a few apartments away from him.

I grew so much that year . And my experiences actually taught me a lot. Moving so far away from the East coast and being away and in my own was a new venture and I was happy to explore a little. I’m not sure the job would have allowed me to do that.

So I’m grateful .

Lesson learned: Appreciate the places where your planted. Trust that the journey is about the places where you are planted and accept that even if it’s not a place you chose; there purpose there, there’s opportunity there, and there’s something for you to do.

Flying above the skies…

Happy Fourth!

Happy Fourth!

In this crazy world where freedoms seem to be changing and lessening, and life seems to be challenged on every side, don’t neglect yourself in practicing necessary freedoms – like finding joy in nature dancing to awesome music; cherishing family and loved ones- and just watching fireworks .

Breathe.

Laugh.

Spark Joy.

Spend quality time with loved ones.

Share.

Eat ice cream.

Smile at People.

Receive smiles from others.

You’re so worth it.

And don’t allow anyone to take away that spark that’s in you. It’s just a good think to have vitality and strength. Keep the flame going. Don’t take it for granted .

Blessings!☺️

Yesterday.

Yesterday I had a meaningful conversation with my Pastor, Pastor Mike, Pastor of Transformation Church, in Tulsa Oklahoma. Today’s post is just giving honor where honor is due.

Pastor Mike and I have attended the same church for several years; even before he became pastor . His ability to rally up youth and bring them together in worship of a God they couldn’t see, was tremendous. Most of all, he keeps you laughing. He uses humor to the glory of God, quite unabashedly.☺️

It was awesome to just reflect on years of his service and how his messages have helped shape and transform my life, and my husbands life. This year has been a challenging one , and I’m grateful for Mike & Natalie Todd and how they’ve helped sustain our faith .

My church communities have been literal shelters when I’ve been so far away from my own family of origin ( In New York- where I’m from); and just being able to know people who are in right relationship with God and love us as family has been an encouragement to our hearts and souls

Together, my husband and I have worshipped together on a praise team, led Celebrate Recovery we’ve taught in leadership classes on communication, visited those in mental health facilities, coached lay persons in the church in dynamic ways.

It’s been instrumental in our own faith and how we have grown ourselves .

Thankful for our pastor his wife and family. They are awesome pillars for our church family , and our faith .

Thankful for this journey, and this season. Thankful for a people who love their Lord with all their heart mind, soul and strength. ❤️