Give Me Grace:. Recognizing Grateful Blessings.

Gratitude post.
* Gratitude . There’s just something about it that helps us thrive. Gratitude has been one of the most  life energizing  aspects of my life that has shifted my attitude amazingly. I  have recognized the blessing of staying positive. I worked really hard and committed at least one day, for approximately a year . I found myself studying social work, one day and saying to myself I want to become “self actualized.” I journal a lot. I mean a whole lot. And so this guy, a theorist, Maslow – really prompted me one day to challenge myself.

My Altar: #NotForsaken

 I wanted to be self-actualized. I thought it was a great personality trait to have and promised myself I would try to  become this way, because  successful people are  quite possibly, self actualized.  And here’s that definition: “Self Actualization means: “ (note from Wikipedia)

Self-actualization  basically  means you are brave.  It means you have decided that nothing will get in the way of you reaching your potential, and i t means you are ready to continue to pursue that place where you though you would ever be.  I remember that place  i will tell you exactly where i was, and what I was doing, because it turned into a an absolute miracle, for me. 

My leap of faith took place in LaGuardia airport, in New York City, May 14, 2003. In was in the place where pI was taking a giant leap, across th ocean, to begin. Where I solemnly took a giant leap across the sea to become.”

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Being positive I will admit, has been a struggle at times.Sometimes it’s hard to think of things to be grateful for without sounding blase’. Once I let go of the  “this is going to be hard” phenomena, I stopped  thinking it was going to be hard, and made it easy by just saying :“Think, Jennifer, don’t underestimate your strength. Ir’s going to be easy.” And then, it just happened. Just like that. I stopped calling all the ingenuity and intrigue that makes me , ME…common .

 I  decided to  start  calling it a blessing, and noting it as praise, courage, and strength, and  resolve I had inside – noticing not everyone had it. And if I saw something that I didn’t even  quite “fully” have; I began to claim it anyway.

One thing I know about myself, is that  am pretty much one who thrives and makes several gains in life, by  noticing where I need to grow decide to  grow. From week to week, I grow. And it’s a conscious choice. So that growth, becomes something I actually like to pursue and  then, can be grateful for trying to do.

Those “little steps” that eventually became BIG steps, were steps that led me to pursue really neat  goals I could look back on and say: “Wow… I did it…I am so grateful I did that!” and in the same sentence, I would say “Wow… I must have been crazy to do something so brave!  How courageous of me to even try!” And I would surprise myself, and then I would find out how successful it was, and feel really good inside for it, thusly – it became something to be grateful for!” 

 This entire phenomena possibly became REAL to me, the eve of my traveling to South Africa. There I was…. On my way to Johannesburg, S. Africa, and  about to get on the plane.
For some eerie reason, I was the only one in LaGuardia airport, sitting quietly in that  airport wondering :“Wow, Am I really about to go? Maybe I am in the wrong terminal and that’s why it’s so quiet, and maybe the plane got cancelled or something….? Maybe this isn’t really real, and I am not really going there… maybe I won’t make this leap of faith at all.”

The plan  that day was to meet my friend Karabo, who was a minister of the mission I would be joining in vision, from S. Africa  there in the terminal, and  he hadn’t even shown up! So I was a bit afraid. I was about to get on a plane, not sure if I was really going to make it over the  Atlantic Ocean, and  fly for 14 hours to a place I had never , ever been… yet I was in absolute awe that I had enough COURAGE to even pursue it! I began to pray profusely, and entered into praise, because I talked down ever irrational thought, and then I  convinced myself I was not dreaming, that this was real and … my friend showed up, we  may have been the only 2 who got on the plane… or else there were like six others who came from out of nowhere.. ( I really can’t recall) … and we mounted that plane to  the Senegal Coast.

You see, I realized when people are being grateful, they often talk about the GOOD, but not the blessing of  checking in  within and the type of  conflict you talk about inside in order to get to that place of grateful courage, grateful resolve, or grateful strength! Well, I am telling you, “it ain’t easy!” … So I am going to talk more about it, ON PURPOSE. No one talks about FEAR. But its what it takes to get to courage, sometimes. If it’s not fear it’s anxiety; and if it’s not anxiety it’s some kind of discouragement, you have to press through to get to  the courage!

Here’s what I have learned about steps towards Gratefulness:

What I have noticed since 2003, is that it gets easier and easy to find  things in life to be grateful for,  because of the way I press past what I feel!

So I made a promise to myself once I stepped on that plane to South Africa, as I spoke to God: “Lord,  if you ever want me to do anything else, I will never , EVER doubt you again, because I know this is Your work.” And in that moment, I gave God every ounce of my work. My future assignments, and my hand in marriage with those promises.  I realized that was the second time that year I did that. I had  promised  to myself when 2005 came in, and then again in that airport in LaGuardia , in New York City.

 This place  has been purposed as a memorial to God, forever. And it has forever  changed my life.  These are what modern day altars look like. They give glory to God and help us to recall and receive blessings as miracles; at the same time – in our lives. And so as I reflect upon gratefulness and find gems in the notion of it, I find myself reflecting on the goodness of God in this space where I live.

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…

IMG_20161126_182815.jpgI just realized my brother had a very special video if my father and I on his blog… So I wanted to give a little snapshot of me and my dad. He’s so special.

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!