Some of My Best Photos & Words….

It’s so odd how…

Some of my best pictures have permanent memories  and ‘records’ in my head… of me being taken out of my environment, into another realm of being and doing, transplanted to another part of the earth and helps me see a greater part and the ‘spiritual’  part  of who I am.

I love to travel. It’s no secret. I can just about tell you I was experiencing life on a serious level, in everyone of these pictures and some type of MAJOR growth was happening in that very moment.

Maybe that’s why I love photography and I get so much out of it. It speaks without opening its mouth. Speaks so loudly and profoundly.

But on the inside. In my heart, my mind and my soul.
I am going to be working a photo task this year, and I am excited about it, although I am expecting that it will challenge me, I am a little nervous that it happens all YEAR LONG. So that means I have to be CONSISTENT.  *  (Mind you …. this WAS  – –gonna be my word, then I  chickened out.. so I will keep it on the sideline and refer to it, when I have “fully embraced” life to the umpteenth degree and you can see I am not hiding any longer…)

If you are gonna be consistent, why not then BE: one who EMBRACES consistency, right?

a big HUGE  HA!

Well, the God’s honest truth is… most of these photos were taken  RIGHT here in  Tulsa  Oklahoma.  And just for the record,  I WAS on a JOURNEY…. I  really BIG one, too.  Smile.

I don’t know how you  feel about the  journeys in life that  wind up taking you “further ” than you may have ever imagined…. but  this girl right here… has decided to work on my ONE WORD   for the past three  years and BOY…!  Have I been  stretched!

 2015 was Endure.

2016 was  Conquer.

 2017 … is Embrace.

All three of these words  take me some place.   To stories in my life journey that mesmerize me ;   stretch me a little more,  cause me to  contemplate,  and  show me who I really am.  … And in these past few years , that has been  almost  inevitable.  See,.. though I am now a very strong advocate of  “choosing words”  that honor and  embrace the journey,  I  don’t believe I pick these words. I believe THEY PICK ME.

And so it is… I should have  wrote down how I had it confirmed…. but I literally heard  the word  EMBRACE over w three hour period… at least it seemed that way…. so I said :YES.

I WILL.  and she stayed here.

 So I guess we are  sort of partna’s for the next  360 days!

Amen & Selah.

Oh.. and you can guarantee ‘the pictures’ will follow in   2017 as well…

 

 

 

 

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!

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.

14-04-16 JenPeace

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 .

Contemplations On Relating: Owning Your Value & Your Worth.

 

I am what one may say —- a relationship expert.  Of that,  take great pride.  But I haven’t always been here… yea…proud.

I am not perfect, and I  don’t know a whole lot about what a relationship takes to make it work, but I really can appreciate a good one. I know when I have a good one.  Bad relationships are like a crack in the glass. (And since I have one  on my windshield, currently, I thought it might be best share what that’s been like. ) It’s expensive. Costly.  And it gets in the way of your vision your hopes for the future. After a while, you tend t ignore it, but t still has the capacity to cloud your vision. And sometimes our relationships are like that, cause we settle for LESS. A bad relationship can weigh you down and keep you from purposing your life in the right direction.

However, I am one who cares immensely about how  women ( & men…)  are treated in relationships, and I HATE domestic violence for  HUGE reasons. I decided a long time ago, that  placing myself  as a priority, is  MOST important. I once counseled a woman in  Syracuse, NY, who only took about five weeks to fully  determine she didn’t want to be in the relationship and  it was pretty awesome to see her walk away only after a sort time of self-evaluation. I believe anyway can walk away from a relationship if they do the proper self-evaluation and take the time to do the self work,  because it makes them decide to fly. Yet why does it take time to  wake up and realize our worth, and our value and  how do we become so stuck in this place?

 I hope to explore that in  the next few blog posts.

One of the biggest  problems women suffer with  in relationships, is  self-doubt. Women often second guess their intuition.

I know, because  I did this for years. And that was VERY costly,too.

Then one day I decided I would begin to purposely take the time to do  some quiet and meditate, self-evaluate and  do a personal self-study of what it  took to be  honest with myself about my self-confidence.  (Man, was it worth it! ) Along the way I found a really  good book, by Brene Brown. Her speeches on  vulnerability are the best.   (Brene’ Brown vulnerability   (You should check her out.)  She take a  good look at the influence of shame and our inner dialogue that happens with  our own personal self-confidence. It’s crucial to getting past the lies we tell ourselves. Reading her book :The Gifts of Imperfection: Letting Go Of Who You’re Supposed to Be and  Embracing Who  You Are” , was freeing.

If women  doubt themselves they begin to eventually doubt every action, and it causes them to  not make even ONE decision at all, that can help them. If she doesn’t make a decision at all, she forever remains confused, disillusioned, and  stagnant.

Don’t allow a sour or broken and misguided relationship keep your from achieving your goals Life is too short already! Why limit it even more with excess baggage? Make a conscious choice today to  be intentional about  your destiny, your future,  and OWN your confidence.

OWN IT… and DO THE WORK!

 

 

 

nn

 

Being Enough & Being Wise.

I was inspired by this series after I participated 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.
 I Am  Enough Because I Am Wise.

So what does it really mean to be wise?

Does being wise mean… to be humble?

Does it mean we should consult with someone else who has  good advice, can problem-solve, help us manage our lives better or may give good counsel?

Or does it mean simply having good sense In knowing how to respond?

Perhaps.

…Or maybe it means being still enough to take care of our lives  because we care enough about our lives to be safe, discerning and aware.
Perhaps where I am wisest is when I spend time in the presence of friends. I have wise friends. There is a scripture in the bible that says :

“There is safety in a multitude of counselors.”

Proverbs 11:14

I love that scripture. It has resounded over the years with me. I have realized over time that perhaps the best  acumen, has come from  having “experience” as my  teacher. With all my experiences, I have  gained such rewarding  insight from friends who have “showed up”  in my own personal struggles, when I needed such wisdom, – and  sowed complete love and admonition  for me,  and their wise actions and advice, benefited me greatly.  The intuition  and  inspiration was on an entirely different level and  completely humbling most of the times, because I allowed them to pour into me, and  I trusted them.   As a result, I have  compassion for  them and for others who have experienced similar situations.

 It led me to  write my book, Red Sea Situations.

I have many women “mentors”  that have guided me over the years, and who have also  guided me in counsel, and one of them is my mother. I’ve placed her picture here  of my mom, because Mom has been over the years one person who has supported my dreams more than I have even believed in them.
I remember when my ‘far-fetched’ dream of traveling to South Africa  came as an opportunity. Mom was so concerned about me traveling so far not really knowing the people very well, and being safe.  I was traveling with someone  knew, but had not known them for very long. She was excited for me. And so.. She reminded me if ‘God gave you that opportunity, Jennifer – I will have to trust in His divine plan for your life.” That was so humble of her. To trust God beyond seeing her ‘babygirl’ – at age of 38 years –  going so far. She had to place me in God’s hands. And you know that’s cool because God gave her that strength. she expected it to keep her in wisdom, and so wisdom  came.

Mom over the years has supported me in several endeavors, but most of all she has led me to discern friendships that are also “safe emotionally and spiritually.”  I believe this is a lesson all mothers should teach their children.

I believe one of the most humbling  situations I experienced, was  a friend who helped me when I had no where else to go. She had always told me, because she knew I was going through a hard time no matter when or what time it was, whenever I needed a place to go, I could just stop by. One night i thought I was close to losing it, and i knew if I didn’t get out of the house,  I would .  So indeed, I  went over and it was about ten fifteen pm. When I arrived at her  door, her husband answered, he smiled, and  didn’t say a word. All  he said was: “She’s  is upstairs, go ahead on up.”

Sidenote: (Can I say I just “admire” a  man who allows his  wife’s friend to come over so late in the evening , so she can support her? )

Clearly, I had been crying, and I slipped past him. When I go to the top of the stairs,  I heard her talking to her boys  in a very sacred moment, and she said , “Come on in, Jenn.” She was there with the two of them, they were about three and six years old, and  she was hugging on them in bed. She made space for me, and  welcomed me in me bed with them. We didn’t talk much that night, we just laid there in quiet and peace. Her boys smiling and  she interacting and mothering them, and I quietly watched them enjoy and love on one another. I’ve  never felt so welcomed.

…And to this day, our bond is unbreakable.

Now, this has nothing to do with me, and my wisdom. However, my friend’s wisdom –  in this moment taught me how to be wise. It taught me how when I am at m lowest point to embrace someone in love and just acceptance, is the very best  action of love. To just be present for them, regardless.  That night, we never spoke much,  I didn’t pour my heart out and all my business.  But her presence, just meant the world to me.

For me, wisdom and love, really are not far  apart. In fact, they are like semi- cousins. I  also found out that I don’t have to know all the details, I just need to love on them.  There’s a time and a season for everything, and sometimes knowledge isn’t necessary. She didn’t know, and still doesn’t know what I was experiencing that evening, but what matters is that I  knew she was there, and that she loved me. To me, that’s agape love. The God-kind of love.

From this one action, I have found that I can love people without words, in such an amazing way, and that it involves just seeing that their soul is so worthy of love. This type of ‘friend -awareness’ has allowed me to be the same kind of friend. It’s also give me a greater burden to be a mentor to my sisters in Christ.   And any other women who need advice in any shade, color or form. I am not particular to them  knowng and loving God, first… I just need to know they are open to my might shining in that regard if I have to share an occasional miracle.

On a lighter note,

I am wise because I am clever.

Cleverness is not  a word I use very much n my vocabulary, yet I find very attractive.

My husband is rather clever. It was attractive to me from the first day I met him. And his cleverness tends to rub off on me at times. Cleverness involves, quick wit, charm, and  wise words, and at times a bit of playfulness. Perhaps the playfulness is the most fun. Being clever involves finding  a certain resourcefulness from within. It’s understanding how to use integrity to teach someone by not reacting. It also involves  not  stooping to a level of  personal embarrassment or  ignorance  because someone else does. Not allowing their impulsive demeanor, unkindness and lack of integrity move me with words. I think I learned how to be clever once I  decide din my mind I didn’t care what others thought about me. It was freeing.  I decided that once I had made up my mind, and it made sense and I had  filtered it through my wisest  friends, and they were in agreement, it was well. And no one’s opinions mattered. My clever quick wit would then pounce back on others when they had comments  or opinions about my  actions in which they did not agree. I admire folk who can take judgment and  crush it as soon as someone swings it at them, and  keeps on  walking without shame or resentment because they are confident they are in a good place.

I am wise because I am contemplative.
Contemplation is one of my favorite things to do. As an introvert, I tend to find myself when I contemplate. Whether it involves speaking to myself, my heart, and pondering the actions of my day I find rest in re-evaulation. If I don’t do re-evaluate, I become restless.
What is in this restless space? Unawareness? A lack of purpose? Dis-alignment? Is that why when I am not looking within, I falter?
I get nervous, my anxiety peaks, or I have a loss for words? I prefer contemplation in order to help me rest. I may not have even realized the extent to which I depend upon what I call : “finding center” Laraine Herring in the book: “Writing Begins With Breath: Embodying your Authentic Voice”, says after the basic needs of food air, water and shelter are met, most of our actions and behaviors stem from a need for love, compassion, understanding and emotional safety.” I find that interesting, because that means if this is true, most of what I seek, when I look within, is about finding self-love.

(Read about  my  self love and being enough in another story, here.)

I must say however; some of the most unwise persons have hurt me. have been unreasonable,  inattentive ungraceful and  ill-mannered people I know, because they lacked compassion.   Indeed, perhaps this scripture measures up when wisdom is most attractive: “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” (Psalm 85:10)

If you enjoyed reading this  excerpt, please take the time to  read the series: Completely Validated: A Compilation of  Meditations & Readings on ‘Being Enough.‘ , which will soon be an audio course and workbook series online .

Interested in learning more about being enough and reading more about it?

Contact me below for more info on the I Am Enough audio Kamau Care Meditative Series!

For a small price of $15.00, you can have the ebook series audio format where you can download and listen as you go!