My Friends Are One of A Kind..

One of a kind.

Friends are few and far between, & are hard to find. Above my friend Meg, and she’s pregnant and ready to deliver her child! (We just celebrated her little one is coming really soon!)

It’s been real living in Tulsa Ok. We are headed to Rochester , N.Y. after nine years of living in Tulsa and I’m thankful for friends .

When I first moved to Tulsa, It took about two good years to find friends . I thought it was the longest time, but grateful when I did. It seemed that friends were found most easy, in having gatherings and so that’s what I did.

I went to Meet Up Dot Com to start a book writing club and it turned out great. We had attendees from all over the area and it felt good to have peeps come from near and far and it felt authentic, friendly and at home.

That’s what Tulsa has felt like to me: My Second Home.

I then decided to have a rather group called Shine- Sisters Helping Inspire Nurture & Excel. This group lasted for over a year. We only disbanded because our schedules shifted in a big way and I began to transition to leave town.

I’ve sincerely met some good friends and I’m thankful . My friends in tulsa have loved on me in a big way and it’s been awesome to share my lives with them. It’s felt mighty good to know them!

We’ve gone to conferences together, wrote books together gathered to pray , or just to have a snack in an empty house and focus on the Lord. We’ve laughed and went away on retreats together near beautiful lakes, went on walks in the woods; met up at writers conferences ; and everything else that friends do to have fun. We also loved on each other during challenging times. Nothing like having a friend support you when you’ve written an entire program and are due to launch it and can’t find it at all on the computer ! (Oh no!)

Or like the time you get a new job ( again ), and you’re going through a mid- life crisis and decide to make changes with them all, and need to begin a new career!

Or you’re having that baby for the first time and need that mental, spiritual and emotional support that friends give!

Yeah… we were a family of friends and it was great. Who would’ve known it would begin so challenging and then I end up leaving SO blessed!

As I leave Tulsa, I would say my birthday in Pawhuska was the best! Spending time in nature and a bed and breakfast, and eating out and shopping in a small town was better than I thought !

My walk at midnight in the woods with Kristi B. was AWESOME!! Nature never felt so good! I can truly say that the love of the people in Tulsa was genuine and felt like home!

(My home away from home!)☺️👋🏾

So… one might imagine …

Leaving Tulsa… is like a fine memory of Iove, laughter and life.. I spent most of my forties here.. it’s where I ‘really’ grew up. Where I matured. I don’t think you really know you loved some places until you have to leave them. Loved the people, loved the work, & I loved the learning … So So much Learning! I made a lot of mistakes; but man, did I learn from them. Some of my greatest lessons of love❤️ have been spun in the web of conflict resolution and difficulty . Yet I’m grateful.
Thanks loved ones!

Gonna miss ya!

HOPE. ( Darkness Has a Time Limit)

March 21, 2019

Hope.
It’s so obscure sometimes. Like … how do you stay hopeful?

Is it Friends that help you to remain hopeful?
Is there a routine that’s involved?
Is there something elusive about hope?
Does a lack of it, make us cry?
Make us sad? Is it reachable?
How do you know when you fully have it?
Does a lack of hope make us afraid?
Does a lack of hope make us feel insecure? Feel alone?
I can say yes to about all of these.

Just recently , I came through a dark period. I was barely hanging in there. I believe I always knew I would come out of it, but it was really hard to stay focused on coming out when my days were so low.
I managed to get through it , but wow.. some days were really tough.

There were many nights of deep breathing for me, yoga, quiet time, talking to my husband and asking for prayer from friends. I also had many nights of tea and on beautiful days outside…. I would sit in the sun. I even found comfort in my journal a few of those days or simply took a long nap. I had to magnify my self-care and pray quite a bit, because prayer is what helps me to take notice to my spirit and be honest with myself about where I am.
To be honest, I wasn’t thinking God was too close.

Continue reading “HOPE. ( Darkness Has a Time Limit)”

A Psalm For Refuge

I wrote a psalm .

My first psalm ever.

I thought psalm writers had all died and gone to heaven. 🤷🏽‍♀️ I never knew I could be one of them. Psalmists don’t usually know they’re psalmists until they lamented and sorrowed about something mighty weighty.

This was me after we lost our mother in law , father in law and I’d gone through various transitions with life and work.

A Psalm unto My Lord

I love the Lord because He heard my heart.

God listens to my heart like none other.

He loves me because He made me before the foundations of the earth.

Before I even existed, God ordained me to be a Healer.

I am His confidant, marked by His presence and His purpose. When life becomes unmanageable for me,

Oh God, you bring me into a very still place and say: Listen.”

In the hearkening of my ears Lord, You allow me to find peace. You wanted me to understand that

In Stillness,

In Your Rest.

In Your Purpose.

In Your Love.

In Your steadfast love – that reaches far beyond the Sun, the Moon, and Galaxies, and Stars.

Be very near And in Your nearness I shall have

Direction, Purpose, & Strength.

When my friends mocked me and thought I was disillusioned they said:

“What are you doing with your life? You seem confused!”

Even the silent mocking – I still heard them, Lord.

When I wandered…seemingly purposeless and without direction, they said:

“Where is God in that?”

Even the ones closest to me questioned my ability to understand You, Oh God

Yet You held me close.

Speak Your love over me in waves

Waves that allow me to love You with quiet and soft music – rocking me to sleep.

Rein me into the silence of Your love,

To love You with Sabbath simplicity, listening for what is dear in Your heart;

Not mine.

Searching for You in the silence and resting in You, with my whole heart.

I love You, Lord. It’s because of You I have a new sense of direction.

I have a befitting and determined course.

Because of You, my heart sings praises for a new occupation That has set me in the land of opportunity.

One without limitation, that speaks from praise and purpose; Healing and leadership and longing.

I thank You.

Selah.

My conclusion is this:

Although there will be times in your life when you don’t quite understand Your God,

Remain grateful to Him.

Remain in a state of peace and contemplation on what He said last.

Remain Hidden in that word He gave you,

And write it on your heart of remembrance

And on the walls of your living space, so it is easily read.

Trust that God has given you a vision and adhere – because the vision defines your future.

Celebrate in the quietness of God’s love.

Rest Assured He will answer in the end.

The Lord loves a faithful contemplator of His word.

Selah.

I love writing love letters unto God. They help me focus and remain sustained. They give me clarity and help me to stay on task.

It’s my hope this psalm I wrote shall encourage you as well.

Changed My Name, Change My Life…

I recently heard someone mention how names are so important. They said something like this: ‘Names introduce a certain ‘honor’ into your life when you inform people how to honor your name.’

So this blog piece is about naming and changing – and how changing my name to “Make Me Happy” when I went to South Africa, changed my life.

In May of 2003, I searched out my own happiness, and began a new personal journey. I don’t believe I shared much about my full transformation. Interestingly enough,…I found it in Kuma, South Africa.

I found myself having a greater purpose in another country. Teaching and ministering to kids and adults and helping them thrive despite being in poverty situations and helping those who suffered life challenges and found themselves having little hope. To be honest, my own hope was at its lowest. I was trying to decide if I should continue with my first marriage. This journey would be telling.

My “BOUNDARIES of Blessing”, began here, in South Africa. It was a journey that redeemed my worth and my significance. I found I actually existed for a greater cause and purpose. And when living in my purpose, I FELT SO WORTHY. Maybe it was the Resolve I felt. And that, resolve could change a Nation. If I had the team of women around me like I had in South Africa, with me in the U.S.A., I would have more than enough support.

My name change in South Africa – or the African name given to me – was “Nthabiseng “. Nthabiseng means : “Make Me Happy”, and this name became a personal mandate of my own, or a personal mission – and I began the journey for myself first, and then for others. I realized walking in Purpose, in my own Happiness, and in my own purpose and living for myself, my youth was renewed. I felt alive again! Almost as if I’d been resurrected.

Well first of all… my first lesson learned – I had to acquiesce, to get there. (I yielded without protest.) I am learning most blessings come via surrender. I noticed once I stopped trying to make life be something it really was not… neither had the potential to be; and stopped sacrificing my peace for others who didn’t value it as highly as I did – my life became better. I learned so much when I discovered this. I had finally began to live for myself.

I wish I had learned this lesson earlier in life. I would often contemplate and hesitate in my life and ponder were things worth it or was “I worth it” Sure, I was worth it! Should I move on with my life – or keep trying to love where love was not returned? I finally came to the decision love can’t be embraced with someone it was never taught and cherished , with humility. And that life is too short. You have to keep living. Because you can stop living for yourself to the point you are almost dying. And then, what good is that? For your dreams die with you.

 

Secondly, I began to appreciate and be grateful for new experiences learned and used them as stepping stones to get me to higher places. For instance I began to challenge myself and ask myself : “Why  work in Syracuse just because I lived there?” I then found myself searching for jobs I liked outside my ‘four walls’ and found a good one in a small town in N.Y. working with adolescent boys in foster care and this began a new trajectory for me in terms of my work. I realized that loving and nurturing boys who had never been truly nurtured before was definitely a passion of mine, and fulfilling work. That they needed this love; for them to be full grown men. Perhaps innately and most unconsciously if I loved them this way – as a social worker who worked with boys; perhaps then, I would not help some women then- not waste time loving them, as broken men.

I believe I also learned what it meant to be Free. To live and have fun for the very first time in my life. I learned I could enjoy company and make good decisions and make friends miles away in another culture and country and it felt good to not need permission to do that.

These were new beginnings for me. I learned I could live and survive on my own. Eight months later I was moving to a place I loved: Washington, D.C. It completely changed my LIFE.

 Then, I decided to look inside. I went a little deeper; & began to self- evaluate.

I believe in the power of naming. Naming can change perspective and change life commitment. In my book, Red Sea Situations, I speak to powerful names of God and how altars – like the places I’ve been to – these representations of love and struggle in life are not always negative places – but places that ushers God’s true presence in your life, so you can change your life and perspective.

Get a revelation on how changing your life, your purpose, and your direction can change your life. It may also change YOU.

To dream a bit brighter, be a little lighter and smile a little happier.

Selah.

The Value Of The Table.

This is my table at home.

If you have a table at home, it’s likely much happens around that table. Or, if you’re like me in the past few months, things have piled up on it, like books and magazines and … “stuff”.

I’ve decided this year to honor my table, at home.

It’s so dear to me. It’s been in my life now for about ten years, and it’s still holding 💪🏾 strong.

This means to invite folk to sit at it, to do rituals around my table, and to have great conversation around it as well.

It was a few weeks before it was actually up and ‘present’ in my new place. And boy, did i miss it!

I love my table.

It’s wooden and large, and it’s quite spectacular. I’ve had friends there, meals there, great conversation and dinners there with friends and family, and it’s just been a great gathering place for us. Change has happened at that table.
Marriage work, has been a focus – here, as well. Prayers and blessings have been given and good writing has even been accomplished with friends, at this table.

At work I have a table too, and there I receive great wisdom from my peer pastors, presenters and chaplains. Unbelievable memories exist as we determine outcomes around that table, and I gather a certain excitement even before I reach it. I’ve met new people and crossed paths with persons I may have never met had I not sat down and chose to walk this process out I’ll never forget some of those conversations as they have given me a spiritual maturity that has helped me recognize what really matters and makes me fulfilled in life.

The fact that so much growth happens has opened me up to new possibilities, and quite honestly it’s been making me be quite conscious about the interactions that happens around other tables in my life.

It’s so interesting that it’s symbolic for the places we receive, refresh, replenish & re-energize – what was once on a tree, is not something I also use to symbolize my personal, professional, and spiritual growth. The fact it’s so connected to nature and to my sense of peace and ‘groundedness’ are symbolic , as well.

What grounds you? Is it similar to an object, like a table? Is it a place? Or a certain feel you get when you have that wonderful sense of nostalgia?

This is my place. would love to know what’s yours. Just respond below.

I’ll continue to share with you those places and pictures in the next few blog posts.

Below is a pic I took in a park in Tulsa called The Gathering Place. Just sharing because it’s such a big wonderful, table in an open park and invites community, right smack dab in a big, beautiful city with lots of nature surrounding it.

( I also simply adore the fact it’s outside.☺️😉)

This was the first table I was going to use…at a community park, but I decided to simply use my own.

Engagement. /Chaplain Contemplations

What engagement looks like when I’m in my passion.

I love being in chaplaincy. It pulls something deeper out of me than I have ever imagined. What does this mean for my life? What does it mean for my future? That, I am uncertain. But I do know it’s teaching me a better way to BE. The stories and the life-changing encounters and experiences have have changed me.

I don’t look at my life or the life of others the same. It purposes me to make life more meaningful.

I take nothing for granted.

Everything and everyone is sacred.

Selah.

#chaplainlife #onbeingachaplain #chaplainwork

Sharing The Window Of Your Soul

What is your soul, actually?

Your mind is precious and should be given the utmost consideration as to “who” you allow to influence it, and “how” they influence it.  For instance, spending time with people who complain, are envious or talk down to you makes you feel vulnerable , and doubt yourself in such a way that it affects  your esteem and confidence.

Your will is the part of your soul that has everything to do with your motivations, and your heart. Unmotivated? Listen to your heart. Think about what’s near to you and dear to you. What challenges you? Where are you inspired? It’s likely you need to find something passionate to work on, or find someone that has similar passion and match that same attitude.

What moves you to  make the decisions tou do? Ever thought about it? Sometimes those are “inner vows” we make to ourselves and in regard to our past and where we determine to go in our  futures.

Our emotions are simply how we feel. Paying close attention to how you feel around influential persons is key to preserving your soul. Who you allow to influence you, and share with you in such a way they respect your feelings or ignore your feelings is key to maintaining healthy relationships. How you even treat yourself, when you’re feeling down or upset helps to reveal whether you care for your emotions accurately. For instance, do you eat junk food when you’re upset, or do you go for a walk in nature and drink more water and meditate?

It’s time to consider ‘who’ you are vulnerable with, and why?

Are they closer to your heart than they should be?

How do my relationships influence my soul positively?

What are their ‘negative’ qualities – or are there hardly any at all, and do you respect them as a person, or do you just tolerate them?

I’m continuing the conversation on Vulnerability, as a part of the 12 Gems  series and course I am  writing here at Pursuing Life. My hope is as you seek the principles here on this blog you will evolve to a greater part of you.

Peace, JennRene

Identity in My Community.

Last night was amazing. I spent an hour and a half in community with folk in my church community. Some were members  of my church, and others were not.

We all had three things in common: Purpose, Passion And Potential. Our desire is to reach for this, collectively.
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Some just wanted to be in a like-minded community of women. I’ve found community rests in sometimes taking risks. Being around people we don’t know – and spending time listening and sharing stories and perspectives. I’ve found this to be my peace and my passion.

Most recently I stayed in a spiritual community for two years that nurtured me , something awesome. It’s called Propel Women. (Propelwomen.org) I spent two years with this group and decided only recently I’d begin my own group  of like-minded women, and impact another community through my church.

Last night we did this, and I fell in love again with the “spirit of community “.  only this time I led the community. How empowering and enlightening to be on the other side. Last night I gained new wings. Again. Yet perhaps that’s what happens when we take risks. Again.  We learn to fly, or better yet, SOAR.

We learn how to navigate the skies.

I’ve been in other communities that have helped shape my character. I’ve spoken about them here and here. The one most prominent was where I met my husband. This was in a loving community full of people of color who were seeking to unravel the pieces surrounding our identity and my history as a ‘people’ in America. We were seeking empowerment, and it came from unraveling a philosophy burnt deep in the fibers of slavery and how slaves were made. Every time I spent time in this community, I was transformed. With a passion, every year I found refuge there. (I really don’t want to take time to reference the document, because that identity is no longer my identity; but it set the stage for my ancestors who suffered abuse and neglect and disenfranchisement at the hands of it’s slave owner.

Unraveling those pieces with my sisters and brothers helped me to see my true identity. Recognizing I could begin from square one, helped me sort out  and filter the lies and deceit that were embedded deep in my psyche & my ancestors believed; then released me to live a life empowered with my own significance and influence, and recognize the places within that needed healing, nurturing and were long forgotten and ignored.

Once I realized this, I was born again. It set the precedent for what I allowed to be in my life. And ‘whom’ I allowed myself to be in relationship with. My old identity didn’t exist anymore. Only what God saw in me, and I allowed myself to partake of -was my identity. Selah.

So here’s what I now know:
This side of life – is only half of who I am. Doesn’t make me a half of a person, just makes me realize that wholeness is a journey, and I CANNOT DO IT ALONE.

I am not the same.

Now, my hope is, the women in this photo, will not be the same, either.

Happy Valentine’s Day. Love on Yourself a little, today.💕

Is I have committed this year in 2018 to writing about 💎 Diamonds my online course and writing about the gems therein. To make it even more exciting, I’m challenging myself to write a book on how I got to the “Other Side” of pursuing me.”stay tuned as I share more on this journey, & eventually provide links to the course.

Developing An Identity is Like Making HUGE Spiderwebs.

Spiderwebs
A Brighter Light. by JennRene Owens

Sometimes finding our selves is like making a spider web. It’s intricate, detailed, contemplative and sometimes involves a lot of work.

I think I began this journey quite honestly, at a young age. Maybe even before age eleven. Eleven was when my life changed. My Dad decided to live differently. To become a man and dare to love and trust his family. I became an aunt, (of two) in 1978, that summer I turned eleven. It’s the year o began being an example for the next generation. And at eleven my father came home a new man. He stopped drinking. And I stopped crying myself to bed every night living in fear of what might happen.
Eleven is the number of inheritance.
Ironic? (Nah.)

We have hallmarks of our identity: the first time as a young lady you get your period; the first time your graduate; the first time you get a real boyfriend; the first time you get your own apartment; or marry someone , or have a baby and become a parent…
But what about when you first “do the work?”( What work? – yet they say actions speak louder than words, right?)

Doing the work looks like becoming emotionally , mentally, and physically responsible. Sometimes it means creating emotional safety, in order that you cultivate safe relationships, with the people surrounding you, as well.
What does that look like? Developing trusting relationships, being forgiving and having forgiving friendships; and tolerating and loving on folk we don’t even like. It involves being spiritually mature about things, because it is  the right thing to do. Choosing to being honest in accepting  others and being open enough to hear the truth about ourselves and tell others the truth, choosing to speak the truth, in love. I used to have the hardest time dealing with conflict. Then I took a few courses and learned about the skills I needed and began to practice them. To my surprise, they worked!☺️

And the journey to my road of personal growth and development began. I must admit, it’s taken years to pull the layers off. Yet my age has helped me develop into someone “ I “ can trust. And if I can trust me, and my actions, that’s true empowerment. But I will l never let anyone treat this soul negatively again. Stomp all over this mind, this will and emotions til they die again. No, not I.

This woman arose again.

She figured out when she left this country, touched the hearts of youth and  led   them to dream again, she had purpose.

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She found out when she traveled over 8,115 miles to chase her dream and GOT THERE, she was on to something. That life and purpose was worth pursuing and she through these actions could BECOME ALIVE.

And help others to keep living too.

When she looked in the eyes of those young people, heard their pain and hurt, and complete desperation, see he youth follow her around as she was hope; when saw them living without parents and brothers lost in other countries saying:”I’ll come back for you”– trying to make a living to help them survive- but never return… these 13 & 18 year-old youth – thriving in their communities, despite the threat of their peers committing suicide daily; and seeing THIS woman come from another land and tell the miracle of her journey, and how God really DOES fulfill our dreams… and believe her….

It was time to LIVE.

And build that “web”. That meaningful large, connection that harnesses hope, no matter how far you are apart in the world, and speak the same language that helps people believe, past themselves. Webs that carry weight, identity, purpose and ingenuity, strength and capacity. Webs that offer hope, healing and love.

This trip to Africa changed my life , and purposed me further into my destiny and my identity. I went home and began establishing my business. It had gone international, and I was beginning to share that I had spent time with youth and encouraged and mentored them through my business: OtherSide Enterprises, LLC. ( See Africa video here.)

And so Identity wins. It speaks loudly, and saves lives, it rids desperation and offers us hope, it fuels our purpose and “makes our name great.”

( Genesis 12:2 )

And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.”

Indwelling.

Indwelling.

Is there such a word? I was reading today in the Word how being in fellowship with friends and others and also God-we learn how to be built up, and grow. We make more room for growth by allowing for friendships; and sometimes those friendships have a God-nature, if you will that comforts.

That’s cool. It makes sense. I really didn’t have a desire for friendships much when I was younger. Like in my twenties. I pretty much isolated myself and spent time with my first husband a lot. Well… not really. After we became kind of estranged in our marriage, I spent a lot of time alone, actually. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I bonded with two girlfriends who were friends by nature of my struggle – we all had similar concerns, and bonded.

They were raising children and I kind of admired their children and how they mothered and loved their children as my own, so I became family, with them and helped them. It was nice, since I didn’t have children of my own, and I was considering that. That never really happened, having the children (for me), but I learned so much about mothering from them. So much about nurturing. And I learned about life with them, as we “did life together.” As we would fellowship together – we spent quite a bit of time together talking about life, cooking, playing, talking about God together, and eating together. Yes fellowshipping …was what I did with them. I was very interactive with the children – and watched them grow. This was over a period of eight to ten years or so.

Indwelling.

I never thought much until now, about how I grew because of them. My sisters… the depth of their character and their faith and friendship. Their capacity, and mine. How we held each other up in good faith and with prayer. There were times when I wasn’t sure I could go on and they would have this soothing, mothering nature that just knew I needed them and would comfort well. Their company and friendship, and their love. Possibly very conscious to them… that God was helping us and bonding us- yet I was just trying to survive.

I never thought about how God used them. To provide an indwelling. (A motivating force for me.)

So yes, there is such a word. I looked it up. Indwelling means: ‘to provide a motivating or guiding force ‘- “to possess (a person), as a moral principle …or as a motivating force.” That’s pretty deep. That an indwelling can work for us positively, or even negatively, depending upon whom we spend time with, and how often and how we allow them to influence us .

Yes… indwelling.

Indwelling forces. They are almost mysterious in several ways. I mean who thinks about them when they are happening?

Motivating us past circumstance, past situation, rising above shame and hurt; yet prevailing.

Who really tends to notice ‘how the bonding happens…’, when we are bonding, right?

I didn’t. Perhaps this is how and when I learned to receive from others. In the midst of my struggle. When I didn’t understand what life was offering me, and I didn’t want what it set before me.

Perhaps in God’s awesome Grace I received friends and was taught invaluable life lessons. Perhaps. Via friendships I survived. I yielded. I acquiesced.( I yielded without protesting.) Hmm…

Okay. So thank God for friendships then, and friendships now – and what I now offer – was not fully aware I was being then, even. By nature of how my relationships have formed today, thank you God, for allowing me to mentor and nurture women today,

I am indwelling.

Providing and being a motivating force and a guiding force for women, looking back and noticing what I need, what they need- and noticing what helped me to survive.

Yes. An indwelling.

Selah.

Question: Where does your indwelling come from?

Do you nurture & cultivate -it or ignore it?

Are aware even as to whether it exists?