The Most BEAUTIFUL Day of the Year.

The Most BEAUTIFUL Day of the Year.

The most beautiful day of the year happened a few weeks ago. Not to say it won’t happen again, because I’ve had some beautiful days. I love to awaken early and capture how God speaks through the clouds.

And this particular morning,  God just knocked my socks off with this sight, but also the revelation that came with it. I believe it came to me as wisdom about what to release  and let go of. I had been holding onto a simple and yet  very realistic thought for so long  it prevented miracles from occurring.

I still believe in miracles. And I was hoping for a pretty big one.

The older I become, there’s something so beautiful I find in the God in me. I find myself in moments like these…those moments when I breathe in deeply, and recognize my worth.

Where significance matters deeply. and choice becomes primary. He packages and presents to me, my destiny.

It’s here, where God speaks through nature. And expresses that He has plans for me. Great plans. And  He just encourages me to “Press on, Daughter…”  This place where I feel guided by my Father.

But I only find him in serene moments like this… Where He is….

This Moment was beautiful yes, for the sight…

But also the Insight.

The value. The exchange. The love. The rest.

The Trust.

My recent exchange with Him has been rather, holy. He continues to show me how important I really am. And I am grateful.

I mean, I love the thought of being so close to God I feel as if I know my peace and I can fully live in it. And my hope  and my trust shifts to an entirely different level.

The most beautiful day of the year… happened here..

Once again, im linking up with Lisa Epperson’s  Give Me Grace Community. (Click the picture for a connection.)

Making Amends…

I just realized my brother had a very special video if my father and I on his blog… So I wanted to share.

The Fatherhood Connection

This is an excerpt of Jennifer Owens, (Reginald’s sister) sharing with her father, Leroy Cox at a Family Day in Rochester NY. She is dressed in African garb, because she had just come back from S. Africa and was sharing thoughts on her journey there. We are sharing this excerpt because as a father, it’s important we recognize the power of making amends. There are many things in life we can never go back and change. We need to forgive ourselves, forgive others, learn to trust again and move beyond our fears.

Here’s my sister’s testimony of how her father’s love helped heal her:

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Give Me Grace: Still… Pursuing Me.

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Photography by JennRene Owens http://www.uaresobeautiful.wordpress com

 

I keep changing my blog title.

It involves several different versions of releasing… and becoming…. I have found. It started with :  “Life  of JennRene…” – I mean, who cares about that, right.. maybe a few I guess…  (Ha!) Then I politely changed it to: “Getting Back To Happy: Acquiescing to A Grace-Filled Life.” Then it changed again to “The Blessedness of Being…”  And yet now: “Pursuing Me: Seeking The Blessedness of Being.”

I think perhaps it’s because I simply keep going places where I didn’t expect to be. I turn a corner and it seems like the hardest corner to get around… and then I turn another corner and I wind up looking back and seeing so much GROWTH. For instance, recently I just shifted from a full time job to part time. And then a little more…  I have a few groups I am doing during the week, but I am choosing to do those groups!

I am so happy about this, place in my life with my career, because :1) I have ‘earned it. And… 2) I have choice.  I have had this notion from long ago, that I was going to “get back what was taken from me.” And choice – was taken from my ancestors via slavery ages ago.  I have always contemplated upon that CHANGE and THAT CHOICE – and I have  wondered ” who”  and “where” I would be today had I not been taken from my original place of being: Africa.

It’s just something about that place that felt so natural to me I mean… I LOVED that. I loved that  a place where I’d never , ever been before could arrest my soul like that. And receive me so well! Amazing how God does that…bring us back to a place where He shows us who we ‘originally’ were…to bring us to a more confident sense of self.Maybe you haven’t returned to your roots, or even gotten there yet… but know that God is able.

So yeah.. many things going through my mind and thinking I have come to a place I have sought long and hard for… a place of having a better choice.  And being able to OWN CHOICE again, in my life.  But only by God’s  amazing grace.  Yes, Lord.

By the way… I’m joining the Give Me Grace Community over at Lisa Epperson’s blog!

Give Me Grace: Saying Goodbye.

I’m just noticing how I feel about saying goodbye… Good relationships are sometimes good even before you really know they are.

This week I had to end two relationships therapeutically with kids I see as a counselor.  I  had a special tug at my heart, with all three of them. It’s funny how  we bond.

One of them, I loved her sense of humor and the small ways she made me laugh.

Another, he was just learning how to be merciful and kind towards others and I’d gotten through. (Yay! He made strides!)

And yet another, he was laughing and having so much fun with me in therapy, it was hard to even tell him  I was leaving. (His reaction surprised me!)

I am not sure what bonds us to another human being, but man..I really love meeting and knowing people the way I do.

God did something real special when he gave me friends, family and clients.

Above, is my sister..one of the greatest relationships I have … She’s pretty darn special in my book! Life without her would be so different and possibly even more difficult!

I haven’t seen my sister since April. A few years ago she came to live in my city. I hadn’t lived with her in the same city for about twenty years! Seeing her leave…. was grief of another kind. It was hard for several months.  Yet she came to fulfill a very hard time and space in my life. So glad she was here when she was. God’s timing was perfect.

I never thought about Gods timing in our relationships;  until she decided to be present in this way.What an entirely complete blessing from the Lord!

Love her.❤

So today I ask for grace, God.. grace to be benevolent in all my ways, and appreciate even the small things and the small ways that I bond with the people I work with and whom You intentionally send across my paths. Help me to trust Your perfect plan.

Thank you for  relationships.

Thanks for how they make us smile, feel special, help us feel appreciated and give us warmth, inside.

Thanks for those who love us, even when we feel unlovable.

Selah.

Here’s the appreciation I’ve learned in saying goodbye: it’s just as special as saying hello. (Smile.)

By the way… I’m joining the Give Me Grace Community over at Lisa Epperson’s blog! Join us!

My Sabbath Rest, Day .

I’ve taken to micro-blogging bfor the sake of a lack of time, and what you see here is the beginning of my offering to you as to how I partake of my personal rest. Self care used to be hard for me. I have a very busy job and some days I get going and don’t settle at all til the evenings…rather late… Yet this picture here helps me find that and remember it. I try my best to make Sundays a Sabbath. The last few Sundays I have been pretty  good with this goal. I’ve been successful in finding rest. Some try to often make us feel guilty for resting, but no..not I. Sabbath is a  place of resolve. And if I cannot find it at  all…in any given day, then something’s wrong. I don’t care who tries to make me feel guilty, I won’t accept it. Even my husband . (Well.. yeah….)

Want to test with me on Sundays?

My noted change has been: NO pre Monday morning dreading work because I feel rested and ready for the day Mon. Am. Check out my links I post, or my blog posts.. you’ll find rest….😄 Please read this blog by Shelly Miller it’s on time for learning about how to rest. http://redemptionsbeauty.com/sabbath-society/ .
 Keri Wyatt Kent is one of my favorite authors of books called: “rest.” Her blog is here:
http://www.keriwyattkent com is another good Sabbath blog.

 

Why not join me and rest?
Share every Sunday how you take time to relax in the weekend.
Thanks for reading. And sharing!

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How To Work “For Free”.

“Scripture: Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galations 6:2
Once upon a time… my first college internship at Howard University,  while working on my Masters at  John Hopkins Hospital. It was my  very first  challenging “crisis as a social worker and I was terrified. I had never felt so inadequate. I  felt as if I couldn’t  be what I needed to be – for my client in the field of social work, but I was excited and  thrilled to be working at John Hopkins, and  challenged myself anyway, do it… I knew I could … with God’s help.
It was my first  job in   the field and in a hospital setting;  and I was in Baltimore, Maryland. My first counseling job that seemed to be too hard to do without worry.
I  was counseling a thirteen year old  parent with twins and her parents. I recall her parents being so angry with her,  I felt as if they couldn’t see that this was such a humongous turning point in her life, it  and the entire situation would either make or break her, and she would from this point on life determine whether she could ask for help freely, from anyone,  decide whether she was loved by family or rejected; and determine whether or not she was worthy of being a good mother. I didn’t want them to judge has age as an major inconvenience, cause I knew God could use this too, for His Glory.
I wanted there, in that moment to  reach out to her desperately and help her soul. ( Her mind, will and emotions.) I could only imagine how bleak her future may have seemed,  based on her outlook a the age of 13.   I guess that’s essentially when I became a “true burden-bearer” at work. I cared so much about her  and had compassion for her situation,  Not knowing what to say to her, or do…I remember at that moment praying and asking God to help me be the best social worker I could ever be, for Him. It’s like at that very moment I decided to tabernacle with God, and make  my life‘s work an altar for him to come in and “alter” my own soul. I allowed my soul to be the place in which he could change me, develop me, shift my priorities, and right there I invited him into my work.  If my life  were to be a work of divine influence and transformation by working with people I wanted his light to shine through me as I helped His people.
As I searched for meaning with the word “alter”  by definition, I  found words like: ” transform,  shift, develop,  or change”.  This indeed was my charge: I had decided  long ago, I was called to do this work of working to change lives. The call to social work, was the type of field I was to influence and help wounded soldiers;  the type of work hat healed emotions and  soothed souls. This was my work. I  even saw I mirrored the life of Jesus:  He was the type of person that did the same, Jesus.  He was the best social worker there ever was, and he implemented His job with the greatest care and  the greatest compassion, and character there ever was.
I learned a humongous lesson, during my early years that lad the foundation for “free work”. Although I received a paycheck, I was living a calling and this work helped set others free. As I notice the  influence and trail I have left behind, I realize I  have been very blessed with a career full of  wonderful options and divine encounters with God through my work and I have learned  a few lessons along the way:
1. That  God’s work, was my work.
I learned early on, I couldn’t do work without God. He needs me, to complete the work, and I needed Him to give it to me. This began a  career of fully offering my life to God, through my work. I believe it has blessed me significantly to finally end up in a place of becoming an entrepreneur and fully loving what I do.
2. That I should never take  anyone for granted that crosses  my path. It may be an opportunity to work for God.
Believing that every opportunity and every  situation  i experience already was determined and sent ahead for me, comforts me. It leaves an imprint of peace upon my life; when I was  discouraged or uncertain about my career and  unable to  be guided clearly.
3. That Compassion that has an arm rest name is: Jesus.
Whenever I feel like I am vulnerable and cannot  figure out where I am going and what God would have me to do, I will  call on Him for help. I have not ceased to do this, and as I do, God manages to preserve me. I have a certain kind of strength need to help me through any challenge, any story and any  valley as it pertain to  my career.
Freedom in your work involves an offering. A Sacrifice. Making a sacrifice for what is really something good and had lots of potential.  And determining that goodness really is… must be in the center of what your work involves.  It as a wonderful grace  flow when you allow God  to  be in the center of it, continually. God is  simply always looking for a sacrifice.  and if we make that altar  or “alter ” our lives, then we have an amazing chance to live it for His glory.
Questions for reflection:
1 .Has God ever prompted you to give more  on your job and turn it over to Him?
2. If you struggle with this decision, have you given that exact challenge unto God before addressing it?
3. Abraham had to sacrifice his own will and his good pleasure, His son –  at a time when he just seemed to  fall apart with the idea of what did not make any sense at all. Is there something in your life that does  not make sense, yet you  determine  in your heart to follow through, because the work and impact for Him,  may be just be that much greater?
Here’s a prayer to center you:
“Father, we  humbly submit our wills to you, as we struggle with  the notion that  we may not know the full essence of what you are offering us when you say, “Feed My Sheep.” If we mumble or complain a bit too loudly,  please forgive us and help us to  surrender all the more.  Help us to realize how we are called to transform, shift, develop,  or change.”
That day I walked into John Hopkins , I didn’t expect a teenager to change my life and my desire and passion for God, but she did.
What aspect of our work are we taking for granted?
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I AM ENOUGH BECAUSE I AM AWARE.

2D278918544E4C25A95045BF2C4CD158-1.jpgI decided to write a new series. I was 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.

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I Am Enough Because I Am Aware. 

Aware of what? You may ask. I am aware of my surroundings, the people I love and even the people I am not all that crazy about. I am aware of where I am going, and often where I am I am aware of the mistakes I have made, and the ones that  I almost made. I am  aware.
Awareness is about being tuned in. I am tuned in when I listen, I hear what my soul is saying: My mind will and emotions, and I am  listening to what is right for me.
  1.  What is right, or isn’t right… in my relationships?
  2.  What is right, or isn’t right for me in regard to my emotions?
  3.  What is right or isn’t right, for me  in terms of how I operate in this world?
  4.  Who am I influencing and am I A RESOURCE  for/to someone else?
  5. 5. Am i taking a god, honest look and reflection of how I present myself in this world?
Am I responsive to others in my circle? Do I have a protective circle of adults, friends and  teachers/mentors who  reach out to me, assist me in decision-making and share their lives with me on some level? Who are these people who help me to stay aware?
( You fill them in: ) 
  1. My Mentors:
  2. My Family Members:
  3. My Friends:
  4. My (Adult) Teachers:
  5. My (Adult)Leaders:
Please note the names and reasons why these persons are significant in your life, today. How do they aid in helping your progress, grow and  become your best self?
 
As a  young woman who is tuned in and AWARE :
 
I am productive. I tell you , this one took a while.  I  found it hard to stay productive. Something was always in the way of my growth and progress for a while. Then  I had to take ownership and make personal goals about where i wanted to end up.  I actually take the time to read daily the blogs of persons that inspire my passions of photography, and of  writing.  It has definitely made me more creative. Yes,I study my craft. The things I am in good in.  Communicating,  Perceiving, Writing, and Observing. (And those are just a few.)  I wasn’t even aware I was really doing this, until I had a really major epiphany /downfall  in about 1997. It was more emotional  and spiritual than it was mental. Well, I take that back, it was actually very mental.  I  was  devastated, and I realized how unimportant TV is, to making me a whole person. A person who is well-loved,  complete, and  considerate of others’ and their personal growth. Because my life had fallen apart, I wanted to help other pick backup the pieces. And so I committed myself to that goal.
 
I am mature.  I don’t waste time  on tings that are petty and  issues that don’t matter. I spend time alert to how I can grow to be a better person and thrive in the skin I am in. I  work my strengths. I challenge myself to do new projects or learn new  skills that help perfect my  work, my calling and my purpose.
 
I  am positive.  I am  one who tends to notice people, point out what is of interest to me, and I compliment what I see. If I see value in them, I note it. I mention it I even add perspective, if they will allow me to, to  what I see. I am embrace it, in someone around me, and I ask them how I can implement the same. When negative energy surrounds me, I choose to remove myself from it, because I am clear it will not help me to continue to grow and evolve, and RISE. I know myself. I am willing to share myself with others, as they treat me with the respect I deserve, and I am familiar with people  who have like-passion and purpose.
 
I am acquainted – with myself and others.
Why is it important to  be familiar  with persons of similar passions, they enhance and direct me  closer to my goals and my purpose in life? Because it’s energizing! I have so much fun being connected to people who  actually love some of the things I love! And we join together for a common purpose, and common goals! It feel absolutely synergistic! Some of the most influential moments in my life have been in the presence of leaders  and deep thinkers who   move me of out complacency and encourage me to be a better person and become more self-actualized.
 
I am alert. I am careful about my relationships and I am careful about who I surround myself with as resource. Relationships can be the most  helpful or the most hurtful aspects of your life that  either help you  to soar, or cause you to become quite defeated. I have learned from enough hurtful relationships, that it’s not worth my time, nor my energy.  Bottom line: Why invest  and waste time in something that doesn’t help me to be better? I have become so much better as a person because of people who were attentive, involved and noticed my strengths and help me build them. Those who helped me to become, and   and invested in me.
 
I am appreciative.  I am aware of when I need to be grateful and practice gracious living. I used to always pray for humility. I believe I used to know that being the babe in the family made me less aware and less conscious of the need to be aware, because everyone took care of me and things for me. I know , that I was a very  hard time in my life, right? (I’m being sarcastic). I was really blessed to have people care for me in ways completely undeserved, but I also know that I have to begin to get over myself. Being so important at a young age, made me take things also for granted, and I needed to grow up. So I had to  learn to be grateful, and  it took a while to learn that. I  began to use prayer as a vehicle to help me.
When I am UNAWARE, I neglect myself. I  tend to do things tat dont help me to grow, nor thrive I tend to not care about anyone, even myself. When I am neglectful, I am  talking too much, and not very silent. I am talking even about people, and I don’t do that much at all I only do it when I don’t want to focus on myself. I am full of myself , when I am  neglectful.  I  tend to not  be very thankful either, when I am full of self.
 
Have you ever been full of yourself?  No, it’s not just being conceited, either, I tell you… it’s being like a glutton. Wanting something so bad you’d do anything to get it. And  that’s quite honestly, being out of control. I don’t like that feeling Being out of control. It makes you feel small, and insignificant. It makes you feel like you are not very important and I don’t think people like you much, wither when you lack self control. With every  act of  pride, a lack of self control comes  soon after.
What self neglect can look like for me:
 
when I am UNAWARE, I don’t take CARE OF ME.
– Not eating healthy – (eating too much junk food)
– Not resting well – (staying up all hours of the night)
– Not spending time with people who appreciate me, or my time. (being with inconsiderate persons)

When I am UNAWARE, I am Negative. 

Just Breathe.

by JennRene

Sometimes in life we tend to get lost in the sauce.. we miss the whole point about why we were given “the breath of life” and why we have it, and how important it is to BREATHE…deeply.

beach playPrime example: Today, I went to a seminar today on bonding and attachment and found myself taking in all the benefits of breathing deeply. I entered the  relaxation and self care session feeling absolutely tired, praying for God to redeem me from the last three hours of the day… and complaining that I hardly had energy left.

Within a few moments… maybe three – (of a really neat deep breathing exercise… ) Oh how energized I was! I couldn’t believe a simple exercise of breathing in and out helped clam me so! Another exercise pointed out how by just being connected and bonded to another human being by a simple touch- sitting back to back or having their hand on my shoulders..simply being connected – caused me to leave the session revived in my spirit.

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Taking time to breathe connects us to ourselves and to others. It helps us to notice what we don’t normally notice… it helps us to be encouraged find release, and be re-energized. Forgetting to breathe deeply can cause us to experience less calm, insecurity, less energy, less peace, less warmth. Why rob yourself of the deepest experiences life gives? Of Connection…(Both to yourself, and unto others?

So, have you ever wondered: Why did God give you breath?  Perhaps God gave us breath to help us breathe life into someone else. Are you wasting  the breath God gave you,… or are you renewing it?There’s a  singer Fred Hammond has a song that asks :‘Breathe Unto Me’ – so that His soul can be made right and his spirit whole. If everyone only knew what God’s breathe within them does to bring them life.. they might take time to do it more often. After the exercises today and a few deep breaths in noticing how my life rhythm was impacted and had been interrupted, I realized I needed to do better work at caring for myself. I realized I had not been tending to and asking for my language of love – TOUCH to be nurtured.

(Contrary to one’s thought life…)

It doesn’t have to be another person you love who meets that need nor does it have to be sex. It can be a back massage, a pedicure, a hand massage.) But touch is only one language of love: Acts of service, words of affirmation, quality time.. are a few more…How are you getting your Languages of Love met? Are they being ignored? Replaced with pretentiousness? Neglected?

I ignored those needs for almost ten years of my life and refused to be calmed or comforted to the point I wasn’t even aware was my language of love!  I almost died inside. Don’t let this happen to you. If you are living in isolation, are lonely or neglecting your need to breathe experience touch – then you are not getting the fullness you need out of life to be soothed, bonded and comforted in love.

Make sure you find someone to help  breathe LIFE into your life – or find an activity that makes you smile, energized, makes you feel more special than you ever have. If you aren’t attracting these kind of people into your life, ask God to send them. He will. He wants the breath of life IN YOU to be REVIVED. He wants someone to bring HIS LIFE to life in you. God gave you the power to breathe… USE IT to bless someone else’s life, USE it to bless YOUR life. To honor someone in the SPACE of your being and doing. But DO stop, today and just notice: are you breathing deeply?

Just let God be God. Breathe, Feel. Trust. Be lifted.

Recognize and deeply take in the power to notice God’s calm and rhythm within .

Are YOU Striving?

To Strive means: to exert oneself vigorously; try hard.

I once knew someone who wanted  SO MUCH. but she wasn’t doing much in order to achieve it  had a conversation with her about effort.  And it was a long one.

I told her i used to be just like her. Thinking I would achieve something without putting in the hard work.

(I  am  just warning you.. this post wont make you very happy….)

Here are five reasons why we don’t put IN the HARD WORK:

  1. We are afraid.
  2.  We  feel sorry for ourselves and use self-pity as a  guard.
  3.  We complain or BLAME someone else.
  4.  We  really don’t want it that bad . We are COMPLACENT.
  5.  We  feel like  someone owes us , and we dont move until we  feel we get what we deserve.

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What was the latest success you had in striving?
Was it for exercise or dd you feel impassioned?
Was it for an exam you know you had to pass?
Was it for a relationship that was giving back 100% … OR were they only giving 15 and YOU did the rest?
Have you ever thought about nature  and how it strives to come to birth?
How the earth strives when earthquakes happen… or the wind  works to clear out  debri – and the earth shifts and the mighty winds take form to form tornadic winds?
Just as the earth groans and has growing pains, so also does our lives.
Our lives can be just as tumultuous at times, yet we still have to find a place to rest in peace.

Other meaningful definitions of striving are: to make strenuous efforts toward any goal: to strive for success; to contend in opposition, battle, or any  with conflict; to compete; to struggle vigorously, as in opposition or resistance: to strive against fate;. to rival; ( oh that word sounds familiar!) to vie.

Be BOLD.

Get ahold!
Striving helps bring about life cultivation:

Oneness of mind and spirit. Striving helps to build communities.