Monday, February 28, 2011

I've Moved

This blog has relocated!

Please CLICK HERE if you would like to read more.

Thanks!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Goodbyes and Changes

Dear Friends, Fellow Bloggers, blog-stalkers, and random readers I've never met,

Since May of 2007, I have come here to write on this little blog. I created the word "Jenn-sational" for myself because I thought it was fun and cute different. It's catchy right?

For the almost four years that I have come here to write, I have found my own blogging groove. I think everyone has their own style or reasons for writing. And me?

I keep my blog to write about anything and everything. It's a catalog of my daily life. It's a place where I write about my faith. It's an outlet for where I struggle with my weight. And it's a showcase for my son and husband and my great love for the both of them. I enjoy writing, and even though I am aware I have an audience, I really come here to write for me. It's great to have something tangible to look back on of my own life journey and it's felt kind of humbling that people I don't know, want to come here and read about my life. I have 74 "Followers" and I've always been curious what it is about me that people feel that they connect with enough to become a follower of this little blog.

However, I feel the season of "Simply Jenn-Sational" has finally come to a close.

I turn 30 on the twelfth of March. I am entering what feels like a new season of adulthood as a woman, wife and mother. I think in many ways, I feel a bit more "grown up" than the woman who started this blog a few years ago. Much has changed for me in the last few years, especially in my heart. I started contemplating this change back in the fall and decided to hold off until around the time of my birthday. I guess with March around the corner, it feels fitting to make this change now.

I plan on writing the same kinds of things - my daily life, my struggles, my victories, my silliness, my family and so on. But on a new blog. With a new title and a new address in a new season of life. Nearly four years and 662 posts later I'm saying goodbye to Simply Jenn-Sational.

With that, I cordially invite all of my readers here over to my new place.

I often write about the changing of the seasons and the times of life I often find myself in. The title of my new blog is real, it's personal and it holds much meaning for me and my story. So without further ado....

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Cure for Pity-Party Disease

I am the queen of the pity party. Nobody can throw a better "feel-sorry-for-me-because-everything-in-my-life-sucks" party than I can. And I'm not proud of that quality, but it feels true. If I am not sitting in self-contempt, I am often sitting in self-pity. I make my life all about me, my issues, my problems...me, me, me, my, my, my, I, I, I. Blah, blah, blah.

The other day was such a day, which had something to do with insane hormones. Not being on the pill anymore totally messes with me when I go off and then no longer have all of that stuff in me to make me feel like a "normalish" person. Which has explained my grouchiness levels and weird insatiable cravings for Gummi Bears. And no, I am not pregnant. *sigh* Either way, I was in mega pity-party mode the other day.

And then, I read this....

"When you are occupied with praising and thanking Me (God), it is impossible to feel sorry for yourself."

Thanks to my super new awesome devotional, I seem to read a little snippet of truth every day that I am really needing to hear. I have found myself sitting in a puddle of conviction and faced with the sadness that more often than naught, I dwell on the things that I don't have or the things that I do have that are making me miserable, rather than even coming to God with humility and a heart of thanks and just praising Him for who He is.

I began journaling a list of the things I was thankful for and a list of praises to God. After three pages worth, I wasn't feeling so sorry for myself anymore. I was thinking how blessed I am and how amazing God's love is for me. So I guess what I read had some truth to it.

The antidote to self-pity is thanking and praising God.

I think it's time to throw a new kind of party. Maybe a God-is-cool-and-I-am-surrounded-by-his-incredible-blessings-and-have-so-much-to-praise-Him-for, kind of party. Anyone want to come?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What the heck?

Somehow I dropped my awesome Blackberry Curve that I got for Christmas in a cup of Todd's Dr Pepper on Sunday morning. It soaked in there for hours until we discovered that's where it was. What the heck?

I have been experiencing major Gummi Bear cravings. And fruit candies in general actually. What the heck?

Tommy was sick last night and Todd was up with him - cleaned the whole mess up. Twice. I slept through the entire thing and didn't know about anything until this morning. What the heck?

I dreamed a bad dream about my mom last night. What the heck?

One of my doctor's offices "assumed" that I wasn't going to pay my bill and accused me of lying about not receiving a statement since her computer showed that they sent me one. What the heck?!

I thought we were going to owe taxes this year. Instead, we're getting a return! What the heck? Sweet!

There's a new show on TV called "Storage Wars." It's where people place bids on auctioned off storage units and then you get to see what they do or don't cash in on. I am hooked on this stupid show. I absolutely love it. What the heck?

I am starting to really feel at home at our church and have found myself actually wanting to get up earlier and try Sunday School - which is very un-me. What the heck?

I'm gonna be 30 in a couple of weeks. What the heck?

And I have a big announcement here on Friday. Hope you come back to find out what it is. What the heck?

Life is just full of weird, 'what the heck?' moments sometimes.....

Monday, February 21, 2011

Coffee and Conversation

I'm kind of a weird coffee drinker. I'm not one of those people who has to have a cup of coffee to get a jump start on their day.

When I turned 20, some friends of mine wanted to make a Starbucks run after dinner. I never really liked coffee but they talked me into getting some kind of mocha concoction and insisted I would love it. After I took one sip, I was forever a die hard Starbucks fan and coffee was no longer on my dislike list. I learned with just the right amount of milk or sugar or flavored mixtures, coffee was quite tasty.

I never drink it black - which just goes to show I'm not a "real" coffee lover. It's always sweet and always creamy. And I don't always drink it either. I have to be in the mood. Or I have to be sharing a cup over conversation with a friend.

Several cups of coffee have been shared with friends over the years. I can think of many faces that have met me at the local Starbucks or even sat on my couch with some that I've made myself. Some of the sweetest times I've had in my relationships with my girlfriends are with a cup of coffee. To me, coffee is best when shared with someone else. It's warm and soothing and is perfect with conversation.

This morning, I awoke with more joint pain than usual. Which was to be expected. Yesterday felt like anything but a restful day and I was hurting before I even went to sleep. As it would have it, my hands and knees and feet were aching when I woke up. Todd had to turn the shower on for me and I could only pray that my fingers would be limber enough to put my own bra on today. Thankfully they were. My medication and the shower helped and I'm finally out and about.

I took the morning slow though. I brewed a pot of coffee and sat on the couch with my journal and just started to write thoughts and prayers to God. My handwriting looked different because my hands weren't nimble enough to write with the neatness I usually do. But I wrote. I sipped my coffee and sat in silence and just talked to God about what I've been containing in my heart the last several days.

Coffee and conversation with a Friend. It felt nice this morning. I want more.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Questions from Quiet Time

I got this pretty cool devotional over the weekend. It's called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. I had been wanting to get something new and I particularly liked the one I found, because I felt my heart tugged at the moment I opened it up and read a random day as I stood in the bookstore. The book has led me to ask a lot of questions, which has led to a lot of journaling. And that has led to a lot of prayer and talking to God.

It's made me feel softer this week. More like me again.

These are some of the questions I've asked myself this week....

What things feel impossible to me?

If God says nothing is impossible, what does that mean for the list of things I made that "feel" impossible?

What is God already at work doing? Where am I seeing these things?

Do I believe God is taking care of me? Where have I recently experienced His care?

What does abandoning myself to God's will look like? What has kept me from doing that?

What "conditions" are requiring me to be still?

How have I wished quiet hours away?

What would it look like for me to look for God's way in my circumstances?

What is God's way in my RA?
What is God's way in my addictions?
What is God's way in trying to get pregnant again?
What is God's way in our finances?
What is God's way in my marriage and life with Todd?

How can limitations be liberating?

Where am I experiencing my relationship with God to be vibrant and challenging?

Where is God "invading" my life?

Where am I clinging to old ways and sameness? What does it look like to let go of old ways and cling to God? Can I even do that?

I love how in seeking answers, it draws me more to the heart of God and His love for me. I didn't post my answers or what I journaled in response to those questions on purpose - that feels almost too personal to share here. It's been a long while since I have purposed to read or journal or do something on a consistent basis. I haven't really wanted to until now. I've missed these quieter moments with the Lord, the soaking in of truth and just spending a few minutes every day with a cup of coffee and a pen and faced with the reality that my life is not all about me.

And until this week, I didn't realize how much I've been missing out on.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Taste for Jesus

Food has been tasting differently to me lately. For example, I've recently discovered that I don't really like potato chips. Which seems weird for me considering that those are things I would ravagely snack on if they are ever in my house.

Since I have been meeting with a therapist in regards to my eating disorder, one of the techniques we have talked about using is mindfulness. She has asked me to write down my thoughts as I eat, my thoughts when I'm wanting to eat and I'm not hungry, and the thoughts I have if I'm overeating or wanting to eat past full. It's been very hard to write these things out, but I have. And I've learned new things about myself in the midst of it, which feels encouraging. I guess because I know there is more there and maybe I'm not hopeless and I can overcome this thing.

I'm not allowed on the scale right now as the goal isn't trying to lose weight currently. That in itself feels both frustrating and freeing. But I have seen changes in myself as I have been mindful of my heart and of the food I've been eating the last few weeks. Things are tasting differently. And I am finding myself eating less, even when given the opportunity to eat more. I've stopped and pushed away. I haven't gone for another helping. I've ordered food for one person instead of two. At the end of the day, food isn't tasting the same way it used to. It's good, but it's not something I'm feeling like I need to overindulge in because it is SO good.

Last week, when I wrote about the Messy Mess, some past addictions were starting to "flare up," if you will, and I got scared. My world was rocked by this development as my therapist had given me a warning and to be on guard for this very thing - that often times, someone coming out of an eating disorder can replace that addiction with another. It freaked me out to experience this. When I was starting to eat normally and not participate in my food addiction like usual, another addiction was almost waiting for me to take hold of it. I felt the heat of evil's pursuit of me here and it shook me to the core. 1 Peter 4:8 says, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour." This verse is real and serious - the enemy seeks to devour us. Eventually I stood and I continue to stand. I WILL NOT be devoured.

In the last couple of weeks, I have discovered this weird ache inside of my soul. I think it's always been there, but I've been using food so long to fill it or numb it or kill it, that I've never paid much attention to it.

It feels somewhat hard to explain, but I feel like I'm starting to desire Jesus more than I used to. Like my soul is literally hungering for God. I am wanting to taste more of Him. I am realizing for myself what it means to pant and thirst for God like a deer pants for the water. This is a brand new feeling for me and something I can't say I've really ever experienced as a believer before.

I am one of those people that grew up in the church. And in the church, I learned all of these things that you must do or should do in order to reach some state of spiritual maturity where you master things like "contentment" and correct Biblical doctrine. This way of life has left me feeling exhausted and like I was spiritual failure. It was not working for me. A few years ago, I decided that I was only going to go to church, read my Bible, do Bible studies and pray when I wanted to do those things. I'm sure a lot of people might disagree with my choice in how I've lived out my faith, but that's the beauty of faith and conviction and having a relationship with Jesus - it looks different for everyone because we are all unique and have different stories.

I guess in the last few weeks, I have found myself hungry for more of Him. I need Him. I am wanting of Him. I bought myself a new devotional and a crispy new journal with hearts on the cover. I thought it was time to start something new with Him there. It's Him I've needed all along I'm sure. But it's taken me this long to get to this place I suppose.

It feels exciting to me that it was God's patient and persistent pursuit of my heart that got me here. Not some magic book, not someone telling me something - it wasn't because of any one person or any one thing. It was several little things, and most importantly Him coming after me.

I'm not sure what any of this means really. All I know is that for maybe the first time in my entire life, I am finding myself longing to taste of Jesus. Because nothing else is tasting as good anymore, and I am pretty sure what He has to offer me, will taste like nothing I've ever had before.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Real Love

Last night as I was preparing a nice Valentine's dinner of Greek Lemon Chicken while trying to keep up with what was going on for The Bachelor, I started contemplating real love.

I was feeling tired and exhausted. One of the many downsides to Rheumatoid Arthritis is the fatigue that comes with it. By the end of the day I feel spent, and it is a challenge to push through those feelings and tell my body to keep going. As I stood over the stove, continually whisking my lemon sauce, I was struck with the thought that this - this was real love. Preparing a special meal for my husband even though my body would rather be curled up on the couch. And I started thinking of places where I have experienced Todd's real love. Where he has sacrificed and given of himself even when he is tired or frustrated or would just rather be doing something else.

Real love serves and sacrifices.

Earlier in the day I received the only thing I really want on any Valentine's Day from my husband. Flowers.
Flowers make me feel loved. Remembered. Celebrated. Special. Important. Happy. They remind me that I matter to someone. Every year is always a different arrangement and I love to see what colors that Todd comes up with and chooses for me. Yesterday's flowers were a combination of purple lillies, peach and white roses and orange gerber daises. They are bright and vibrant and they make me smile. I don't think I will ever tire of getting of them. They are a symbol of his real love for me.

Real love gives, reminds and treasures.

As of late, it feels like Todd and I have experienced the reality of marriage - the messy parts that you have to get in and clean up together. Both of us are not just committed to staying married because "that's what the Bible says," but we are committed to fighting for a good, loving, fun and honest marriage. I guess one of the positive results to seeing my parent's marriage fall apart and end in divorce, is knowing that I don't want that for myself. I will be damned if I let the enemy do that to my marriage. I am in it to fight for it - not to just exist, but to be awesome. We try to purpose to be mindful of when things are starting to spiral out of control or feel stale and disconnected and then do something about it.

Real love fights and calls to more.

Last night we enjoyed a quiet, candlelit dinner. Nothing too fancy. I didn't even use the cloth napkins. Tommy was in bed and though it was probably too late to be eating dinner, it was just me and him.
We both chose funny cards for each other this year. And that made me smile. Sometimes when things feel too serious or heavy, it always feels good to laugh. After dinner we played a silly game we found at a book store last week. It was a very enjoyable night, and after last week's mess and tension, it felt good to be silly and play again.

Real love has a sense of humor. Real love plays.

We make mistakes. We hurt each other. We are often self-seeking. We do damage. We often don't show up how we need to for the other. We aren't perfect. We are real.
I am grateful to share real love with this man. My husband, my forever Valentine.

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