4 Ways My Parents Taught Me To ‘Be The Example’

“Be the example.”

This is the phrase I heard all too often from my parents when I was a teenager going through the motions of high school hilarity. Gossip, rude comments, jealousy, anger, cattiness – there was always something brilliant to complain to my parents about. Complaining is really just transference; we want the person we are complaining to to feel as outraged as we are. That way, we can take some of the weight off of ourselves. But instead, my parents always said the same thing…

“Be the example.” Read More

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6 Things To Avoid During Conversation

Generation Y and beyond have been called the ‘generation that doesn’t know how to communicate.’ Why? Probably because most of our conversation takes place over social media accounts and text messages. Face-to-face communication may not be as common as it once was, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is any less necessary!

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Black & Gold: A Poem About Blessing

Our past worries and troubles are not something to be dwelled upon. They are meant to make us stronger. When we live in the past, we miss out on the present. Don’t let past mistakes, worries, or tragedies dictate your life. Learn and live!

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5 Practical Things Noah Can Teach Us

“Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.” 
Genesis 6:9
Whether you are familiar with the biblical account or are only vaguely aware of the new Russell Crowe film coming to theaters, Noah and his arc have not disappeared throughout history.

The Rose: A Story of Opportunity

“I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.” – Mark Twain

So, I Lost My Key

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22
Once again, I was driving up to the auto mechanic’s shop, dropping off my still-young car to get the poor thing tuned up. A little frustrated about dropping off my car for the third time that week,  I waved to Dan and told him I’d be back in the morning to pick the car up. I could hear the jingle of my giant key ring as I tossed it his way and turned to leave. For the rest of the day I would borrow my dad’s car.
 
Later as the sun was setting, I was driving to the home of a little girl I babysit frequently with her in tow. Her and I were joking around about how this car had seat warmers unlike mine and how nice and toasty our rear ends were when I pulled up into her driveway. I suddenly realized my blunder. Her house key was on my key ring. My key ring was an hour away at a closed mechanic shop. We were locked out and no one would be home for hours.
 
So, I frantically knocked on the neighbor’s door; no one was home. The little girl and I searched her front yard and back yard with my iPhone’s flashlight and we couldn’t find a spare key. Feeling completely defeated, we got back in my temporary vehicle, cranked the heater, and got comfortable. I felt a surge of embarrassment as I called her parents, who both worked hours away, to explain our mishap and how sorry I was.  “Idiot, idiot, idiot…”
 
Of course, being the gentle and kind souls they are, they said not to worry about it. They gave me the address of a family friend a few neighborhoods away who was happy to have the little girl over until her parents were home from work. I meekly thanked them for understanding, hung up, and pulled the vehicle out of the driveway.
 
The little girl didn’t mind the change of plans and began chattering away about school and swim practice, but I was only half listening. In my head, all I could do was cut myself down. I felt so stupid. The parents had assured me that it wasn’t a big deal, but it was a big deal to me. My inner self talk was screaming that I was irresponsible, that I had let two people that I respected down, and that I was ruining a little girl’s night schedule. I took her to Starbucks to get a hot chocolate and a cake pop, apologizing again and again. When we knocked on the door to her friend’s house, I felt like a dog with my tail in between my legs when I explained the situation.
 
The friends could read the humiliation written all over my face and they offered me water or coffee while their daughter and the girl I was watching finished their homework. I politely declined, only wanting to get to the car for some solitude and a good mental lashing during the hour-long drive home. They smiled at me gently and said something that surprised and stuck with me while I drove home in silence: “You know, positivity is the real key that you don’t want to lose.
 
So corny. So true. I got home to my bookshelf and immediately picked up Self Talk, Soul Talk by Jennifer Rothschild and began pouring over those pages I had read so long ago. I needed the reminder  that book provided for me. What we tell ourselves internally has just as much of an effect as the things others tell us aloud.
 
I have always had perfectionist tendencies. The truth is, I’m not perfect and no one else is. When we make a mistake, we shouldn’t tear ourselves down. We need to learn and move on.
 
So, I may have lost the house key,  but the real key to never lose is positivity. 
 
Don’t beat yourself up because you have to live with you for the rest of your life.”
 
“There are plenty of others willing to call you a failure. A fool. A loser. A hopeless souse. Don’t you ever say it of yourself. You send out the wrong signal, that is what people pick up. Don’t you understand? You care about something, you fight for it. You hit a wall, you push through it. There’s something you need to know about failure. You can never let it defeat you.”
 
– Jenni

America, The Beautiful

I thank God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy.
Philippians 1:3-4

O beautiful, for spacious skies...
When Veteran’s Day comes around every year, I am always reminded with a surge of patriotic pride how grateful I am to be protected everyday by the men and women who serve my country.
My family has a long history is military service. My grandfather and great grandfather both were both pilots in the United States Air Force. They served in World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and Korea.
After tracing my family tree to the American Civil War, we discovered that both my mother and father’s families had both served in the Union army. Tracing back to the American Revolutionary War, we also discovered that my mother’s family stood alongside General George Washington in the US militia. As female descendants of the brave men who fought for our freedom in the very beginning, we are honored to be labeled as ‘Daughters of the Revolution’.
One thing that I’ve always admired about my mother while growing up is that she always made a point to thank members of our military for their service when she sees one in public. I live a short distance from a very prominent military base, so we see those who are currently serving often when we are out and about. Remember to thank a veteran on this very important day. And no matter your stance politically, appreciate the ones who work and have worked ‘behind the scenes’ to create this beautiful lifestyle we have here.
Because even when times are ‘bad’ here in the USA, they are still pretty good.

America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

– Jenni

BeYOUtiful

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.
1 Peter 3:3-4
 
BeYOUtiful: A little phrase we’ve all heard before, but oh… how it holds so much truth! This is just a quick reminder to all of us who tend to hold ourselves to a Hollywood billboard standard – even those men and women in magazines and on television are real people. They actually can have blemishes, bad hair days, crooked teeth, and excessive body hair. The camera is great at illusions. Plus Instagram filters are wonderful, am I right?!
 
God holds us a standard of grace, not a standard of what the world perceives as ‘perfection’. Your uniqueness is what makes you, you! True beauty shines from the inside-out.
 
So be the beautiful you!
– Jenni
 

Live Passionately

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”
Colossians 3:23
You are en route to a destination. You have a dream that you are in pursuit of. You’re taking that next critical step to move beyond any barriers and claim new territories. What’s the best thing you’re earthly self can give that will help your journey?
Passion. Passion intertwined with talent is an unstoppable force. However, passion alone is so powerful that it often substitutes for what we lack in talent. We can’t just ‘get’ passion; it’s something that stirs within us. It compels us. It pushes us to move beyond what scares and exhausts us. One with passion yearns for responsibility over their actions because they know that their actions are taking them to a specified destination.
So, embrace the best you have to offer. Let your hair down, dig in, and work hard. Live passionately.
– Jenni

5 Minutes to Reflect & Rest

My Friday night ended in the most hilarious of ways… falling asleep on my couch at 9:45 with a bowl of popcorn and almond clusters next to me. Sometime during the night I stumbled half awake to my room and curled up underneath my covers fully dressed. But, as it goes, I woke up bright and early to the sunrise peeking through my window. Replacing my jeans with sweat pants and pulling my hair into a pony tail, I washed my face clean of any makeup from the day before (NEVER EVER DO THIS. ALWAYS WASH YOUR FACE BEFORE YOU GO TO SLEEP) and walked out on my balcony to enjoy the refreshing breeze.

It was there, with my blanket wrapped around my shoulders, the birds cooing in the tree next to me, and my face feeling the biting sensation of the cool autumn morning, I felt an enormous sense of relaxation. Sometimes God speaks to us when we aren’t expecting. And in that moment, He was asking me to sit there on my chair facing the rising sun and take a few minutes to calm my ever-racing mind down.

It’s easy to take something that should be used as a strength and abuse it to the point where it becomes a weakness. A constant barrage of ‘thinking ahead’, working, scheduling, and studying is overwhelming. These things are very important, but when you’re in your twenties, you shouldn’t be at such a point of mental exhaustion that you have to fight to stay awake past 9pm on a Friday night. Do work hard, study, make goals and take leaps and bounds to achieve them. But find time in the week to unwind and reflect. Even if it’s only for a few minutes. Maybe it’s prayer, meditation, yoga, surfing, driving in silence, reading before bed …

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 
Proverbs 3:5-6

God wants us to seek Him for understanding and not to rely completely on ourselves. Seek Him, and He will light a path for us that leads us where we need to be.

My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. 
Exodus 33:14

For those who are not familiar with the Bible, God told this to Moses when he was in distress concerning the Israelites he had just led out of slavery in Egypt. God’s presence would lead the people to a new home and a place to find peace. Commonly referred to as ‘the land flowing with milk and honey.’

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever
Psalm 73:26

Find five minutes in your day to reflect and rest with God. Then jump back on the road and put the pedal to the metal! God will high five you from the passenger seat!

– Jenni