Self-Sabotage & Success Planning: Be An Intentional Mom

Being Intentional

I’m sitting here staring at a blank page right now, knowing that I need to write a blog post for this week – if for no other reason than I committed to it – and in this season of life, that’s enough. Being intentional has been an “in-process” place and space of my life for many, many years. I was a busy girl. I’m now a busy woman. But I’m also a tired woman, too. I am a woman who has worn herself out with unintentionality, “commitment-phobia,” and reparation of possible hurt feelings (of family and friends turned-down invitations) with an overzealous yes-streak about a mile wide. Note: the yes-streak has come to an end as of late. There are some (many) blessings in special parenting!

And as I’ve adventured in each of these choices (and choices they are!), I have made “tired” a lifestyle – and I’ve made for myself an unpredictable life. Which brings me to where the Holy Spirit is guiding our conversation to today… Have you heard two words self-sabotage before?

Each of the ways that I was living life, presently live life, and perhaps might live life in the future (all listed above) have been separating me from God, and the “peace that surpasses all understanding” that I aim to just be in on my path.

Today, let’s just touch on the trap that I (and many of my clients) have fallen into…

Don’t Plan Your Steps

Let’s just be funny for a moment. What if this was your life’s work. What if you happened around repeating, “I Won’t Plan My Steps,” each and every day? Can you imagine?? No matter what goal you have, I’m guessing that you probably would see an advancement away from your goal, or (by Divine intervention) limited and scattered results at best from your efforts.

What I’m saying is this: The less time that you spend on an action plan that is associated with your goals, the more likely you’ll be to rock the sabotage! (If you’re done reading my babblings by now, you can just scroll down to Closing Notes for a fun practice! But perhaps read this next sentence first.) Keeping your plan simple is the antidote to self-sabotage. Simple, for me, means letting the Lord guide my steps.

In Proverbs 3:6 it says, “in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

You can be sure that when you aren’t sure of your next steps, Papa (our Heavenly Father) is absolutely sure of them. Here are my two tips with this… First, pray over everything. And second, listen for His response. If it isn’t audible, as is the case with most planning processes (like allllll the circumstances where God doesn’t outright say, “Jennifer, you should work on your three-year engagement plan and this is exactly what it looks like”), take the next most-clear step.

This brings me to a story in my personal life.

In 2012, I was praying for Papa to lead me to a career path that would give me a sense of success and self and abundance. I was recovering from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, an awful autoimmune crash that left me unable to walk, and the combined griefs of raising a medically fragile baby and losing a dear friend. I threw myself into working my pop-up mama yoga business, totally unsure of the next step on my path. As I hopped around, I finally found a job in maternal-child health that I felt was filling my well. But then in late 2013, the role changed and the budget was cut. With a sad heart, I came home. I didn’t take two breaths to determine the next most-clear step, and I opened up a yoga studio.

Within six months, it failed.

The yoga studio chapter of my life was me not asking and taking the next “most-clear” step, for sure! It was me scrambling to find my life’s purpose. As I spent the entire first season with no marketing plan and blindly excited from cash flow that didn’t cover expense, I began to realize that I still wasn’t reaping the rewards that I wanted to from my career or my life. I wanted success (I had full classes!), a sense of self (I was more present than before!!), and abundance. Yet in this season, I was going home at night tired and in full knowing that my time was completely embedded in something that couldn’t give me the extra income I desired to help our family finances.

The next “most-clear” step matters.

It matters a lot! That doesn’t mean that some seasons of life aren’t about our testimony from a test; it just means that perhaps God uses our “mistakes” for our good. I mean, we have free will… so we can’t make him responsible for everything!

Closing Notes

As I wrap up my words to you here today, I want to encourage you to take some time for reflection on your path. I took that season of life (and self-sabotage) and made my next most-clear step count. You can too.

A question for you today:

Are you sabotaging your potential because you don’t have a plan? If you are, what does making an action plan look like to you?? Read on for an awesome exercise that I found a few years back!

Let’s add a tool to your toolbox.

The Successful Steps Formula

In part taken from The Power of Focus by Jack Canfield, this is an exercise that I use in my coaching practice with my clients, today. Here’s my spin on it:

Step 1. Write out your goal, and pray about the next step.

Step 2. Clearly identify your bad or unproductive habits (as they relate to your goal).

Step 3. Define your successful habit (to move toward your goal).

Step 4. Create an action plan (steps that you know God wants for your path, or ones that are the next most-clear steps to move you toward your goal).

Example:

My goal is to get more sleep.

The habit that is holding me back is scrolling through social media while in bed.

The consequences of this habit are that I’m always tired and grumpy with my kids.

The NEW habit that I have is to charge my phone in the bathroom.

The benefits of this habit is that I am getting enough sleep, and I have a better relationship with my kids!

The actions I need to take are as follows:

  1. Move charger to bathroom.
  2. Set an alarm on my phone to remind me when to turn it off for sleep (10 pm).
  3. Praise myself every morning for making a good choice when I wake up well-rested.

How does this process resonate with you? Are you ready to knock self-sabotage on it’s nose??

As always, I am for you, Papa is for you, and we both love you as the amazingness that you are – as you move toward the amazingness that you’re made to be!

xox Jennifer

Pain & Special Parenting

This is the day that I officially declare it: I am so very much unlike my God, our Lord and Savior.

Honestly, I’ve been a rock star mama for the longest time. I’m not passing along hurts or pains (that I’m aware of). And in many, many ways I have felt pride in how much I do for my miracle kids! How much I pour into them. How confident that they are because of it! But I am unlike God. I love my babies unconditionally, yet can’t bring myself to like my littlest sometimes, right now. And because of this, over the last few months, a Great Sadness has overcome my spirit. A sadness that has been – in part – recognizing I can’t fix everything. Not even my child.

Especially not my child.

I am so unlike God!

If you’ve been following our story over the last year (since I began to share it), then perhaps you know our Wild has been on an incredibly bumpy ride. If you’re new to our adventure, our Wild has severe sensory processing disorder. She’s been “put” on the autism spectrum by two clinical studies (though we are still diagnosis-free) and we’re currently battling with behaviors that represent anxiety, OCD, ODD, and ADHD. She’s still very little (she just turned 4!), and it’s hard to say if autism or sensory processing disorder is causing it all, or if these are just separate experiences of her sweet body. And in the midst of this, this mama is enveloped in a sadness so profound… that the things I’ve loved for years, just aren’t filling my well anymore.

I close my eyes and suddenly, I’m back – laying on the floor of my college apartment, getting high so that the sadness might go away. There’s a reason why I call my coaching practice and blog Raw Motherhood…

(Can we just be human?)

Back then, I didn’t have kids yet. My sadness was pain and disease. And I was tired of the roller coaster and doctors only giving me options that made me sicker. My sadness today is different. But it feels the same. I gave birth to this miracle. And my daughter’s pain? That’s my pain too. Seeing her battle her body daily, and being unable to provide or fix where she is has led us to an adventure of appointments with every kind of doctor and therapist possible, those that might support her better than my doctors supported me. Those who might be God’s hands where I can’t be.

In 2008, on that apartment floor I found Eckhart Tolle’s work A New Earth, and I suddenly saw life through fresh eyes. I didn’t need the marijuana anymore. I had God. And I saw His hands all over my life. I’ve had God ever since. But in raising Wild, I’ve been playing God too. I gave that up this year… I can’t always be His hands and feet. Especially not in the situations He isn’t calling me to.

It’s exhausting trying to be the Infinite with a very finite existence…

Thus, I believe that a Great Sadness takes over when we’re not on the right path. When we’re doing what we weren’t designed to do. Some of it is hormonal for many folks; I believe that fully. But for me, my spells of grief are in seeing clearly the pain, but not seeing the God who can heal it, take it, mold it, morph it, and reshape it into something good.

You can pray without ceasing to a God you believe in, yet take on a battle as all yours – and not feel a thing.

Which leads me to today. As I stop playing God, I begin a new chapter. A chapter that began because I wanted to serve more through our Celebrate Recovery Ministry at our church, that has now transformed into being a part of the served at Celebrate Recovery at our church. Three weeks in, and I couldn’t be more amazed by this process. Each week, I bare my soul to phenomenal women who get pain. They’re in it or almost through it or just beginning to dance with it for the very first time. And we support each other in accountability and non-judgement and prayer. There’s no hi, how are you? and responding with a bland good. There’s hi, my name is Jennifer. I am a grateful believer and a daughter of the King and I’m battling shame. I’m battling shame! (I had no idea.) And part of that shame is that tonight, I like my daughter. But this morning I did not. My shame is also in that I can’t do it all. My shame is that I can’t fix what God didn’t create me to fix.

I’m ready to give up shame. I’m ready to give up trying to be God. Life can bring us down some interesting paths, dear friends.

I’m so unlike God. But God is God. And in this process, I’m beginning to see that the more I trust Him with my daughter, the more that I can peek out from under the covers of the blanket of sadness (pretend covers, because Wild still doesn’t give me lots of them during our shared sleep) and see glimpses of who I am without my pain… and without hers.

To my fellow Warriors, I love you, He loves you, and we are both for you. If it’s time for you to hand over all the pains – especially the one’s you don’t own – to our Creator, know I’ve done it first. And I’m praying over the (gluten free) bread crumbs that I’m leaving behind me along this path – that you might pick them up and follow me out of the valley and up the mountain to higher ground.

{{{{squeeze}}}}

Peace & Love,

Jennifer

Impact, Part II

So what’s next? How do I teach you the simplicity of choice versus chance in a world driven by a wait-and-see-approach? Our thoughts, become our actions, become our world. And this world is a place that we have the opportunity to make an impact in. Unless there are excuses. But we aren’t making excuses. Not us. Not the resilient child who fought a virus that wreaked havoc on his tiny body, bearing unfathomable pain at only 11 weeks old. And not the strong mother who has fought physical, emotional, and generational pain from her own childhood two plus decades ago. We are made for impact…

Dear Mild,

But I’m not making it. I have been hovering in the raw, emotional pain of being a burden for seven long days (again). When my immune system takes over (and attacks herself) sweet boy – it’s like you lose your mama. Actually, you do lose her. I have been a ghost around our house – tidying up here and there – and then retreating to the couch; folding some laundry and then taking a rest; laying down upon my yoga mat and then serving another meal. A ghost without a smile.

When my body is this tired, sweetheart, I don’t know how to live with the wildness and joy and abandon that always emanates from my soul. It’s like my soul is starved – so very weak. In these times, I sink back into that deep dark hole of a time just one year ago… a time during which unwell had lasted for over 12 months, and from which a tattoo sprung forth – my arm artfully inscribed with “run with your burdens” (plus a semicolon). I don’t know how to feel alive during these spaces (insert sharp in-breath taken from sudden realization here) because I don’t pray in these places.

Ouch. I don’t pray for myself. Somewhere deep, underneath it all, I don’t find my needs worthy of prayer. And, what has been rattling me is that I truly don’t know why. (Yes, I’ll figure that out.) I also don’t know if I can get much more vulnerable than this, my mild child. (Pssst, if you haven’t noticed – my letters to you are public. Yup. I guess that I must imagine someone else might benefit from watching us grow. I hope it’s true.)

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Our first professional family photo shoot last fall. I had Dengue at the time, and didn’t know it. A few weeks later, I would get the tattoo I mentioned. The tattoo that meant I wouldn’t give up. Let’s not give up. Miracles come from madness.

 

Anyhow, I went to the Global Leadership Summit last week. (Honey, I am bringing you there when you are old enough to see and hear it all!) During it, I was reminded of Impact. I was reminded that I put out a call-to-action that together, we would own life. Again, here I am not owning it… barely able to recall the last few days and falling into the enemy’s trap of doubt and distraction from what is at stake.

Impact.

We are made for impact.

Tonight, I answer the question I posed last month (how will we make it?) with this: WE will make it. We will make it together, not just as human being hand-in-hand, which is already how we roll… but with a bigger Togetherness, in which God is at the center. We can’t go this alone. And after the last few days, I finally get why we don’t want to.

Impact.

We will make it, son. God’s not holding out on us, so we can’t be holding out on him.

I’m interested to see how this all evolves. This praying for ourselves “too”. This balancing of humility. I bet that there are miracles just waiting to spring forth when we value ourselves the way that our Maker does. I love you, Mild. And better than that? He loves you. As you are, and as you transform into exactly who He has created you to be.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. – Psalm 139:13-16

Love,
Mama J.

Priorities

Dear Mama,

Today, I’m writing to the mother who cares for everyone else. I know you. I know you well, because I’ve been you. And in case you’re in the midst of scrubbing endless dishes, and floors, and bottoms… and no one has said this yet to you today, let it be said: You matter. Your wellness matters. And as you’ll hear me say thousands of times going forward on this blog, Well Women Rule The World. Period. You can’t be unwell and live the life that you are meant to live. It’s just not possible! But what is possible is listening to your body, your mind, and your spirit so that you can become the best version of yourself.

Yes, it is possible.

I know this because I lived it and I presently still live it. And to be honest, for the first time in my short and long 31 years, if assessing my personal wellness was a job… y’all, I might just get a raise this year! After countless hours and days – and a counted 10 + weeks – in physical therapy learning everything possible about my 47 percent-able body in 2015, I identify my wellness as a Top Three priority every single day. If you know me just a little bit by now, you know some of this… I have chronic autoimmune disharmonies; I have a special child (my sensory processing disorder miracle) with therapies; I have a second miracle a few years older than Ms. Bliss with sports; I am married; I am a sole income provider and a work-at-home mother; I am beginning to write; I travel often; and I advocate for women in motherhood. And still, I put my being well as a priority. Why? Because none of that gets the attention that it needs, if I don’t get the attention that need.

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My number one priority is my being well, because she needs the best version of her mother – not just some days, but on as many as I can wrangle! It feels good to break the generational chain of self-imposed guilt and lack.

If you have read this far into my post, you are either thinking that 1) I am the master of all trades and have it all figured out, or 2) you have realized that I have nothing figured out – except for Top Three. About a two years ago, I read an article that quoted Jim Collins in saying, “If you have any more than three priorities, you don’t have any.” And it was like a lightening bolt went through my body as those words made their impact, and suddenly, I got it! I have zero priorities when I’m focusing on everything: (cue drum roll… wait for it… wait for it) nothing – yes I said nothing – gets done as intended or as well.

Being a sensory mom, I’m going to now bring us face-to-face, mama. I’m going to put one hand on either cheek, with your permission. And I am going to ask you to look at me. You are in the midst of a battleground, friend. But the battle has truly already been won. You are worthy and you are loved and you are whole. You need to be your number one priority, because you value yourself. You know that others depend on you, and without being the best version of you, you can’t be there for them. Not fully.

This leads me to re-read the words that I have given myself and my son – both chronic quitters when the going gets tough: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7. You are fighting the good fight. You are finishing the race. And the foundation of it all rests on your faith – because you have already taken action.

I’m ending today with a reflection: What action – beyond reading this – do you need to do to make yourself a priority – a Top Three? Is is a support system? Is it quiet time alone?? There have been many tools in my tool box throughout the years: from self-help books to humor; from church to therapists; from journaling to community… yoga classes to personal practice… painting, drawing, retreats… each has played a significant role. Stripped down bare, what will it takes for you to draw out the perfect child within that is hugely, wholly, and unconditionally loved? Find her. Find her because she will make a far greater impact than you ever could.

Coming from someone who has found her, and knows her… whatever lengths it takes, it is worth it.

Love,
still a child, always His child, an imperfectly perfect Mama J.

We’re better together.

 

Who Am I?

I’ve been working on reintroducing myself to the world through my blog, and I thought that this would be a good place to continue along… No recipe today. Just sharing the adventure.

“What we do for ourselves, we do for everyone.” – Carol Adrienne

Five years ago, self care wasn’t even on my radar yet. Career driven, self reliant, chained to the fear of what others might think. And then, I took a fall that began a change in it ALL. At 24 weeks pregnant, I was fighting to keep our son in the safety of my womb… Because I didn’t pause for me, we worried for him.

What I didn’t know at the time, was that we would worry no matter what. I had what doctors called an “irritable uterus.” I contracted early with both babies! But even more challenging was the wild ride in the year following our sons birth. He contracted an unknown virus that ravaged his tiny body at just 11 weeks old. In caring for him, I once again neglected me. Immune challenges I’ve had since childhood brought me to my knees. After missing his first birthday, I wouldn’t walk well unassisted for over 6 months.

I am not a martyr. I am just a mom. And more importantly, I am a child of God. My journey has only just begun. Knowing from many, many conversations that I am not alone, and that there is a message that must be heard, I will shout self care from the rooftops til the day that I return home. You can either hold on, or heal out. It is beyond important – it is a MUST, vital to our ability to serve. 

Living Devotionally

As of late, I have begun sharing recipes again. If you look back over the last five years, you’ll see that I have been vegan, paleo, gluten-free… etc. There has been A LOT of shame and guilt in living with chronic immunological adventures. I am just now getting to the place that I can recognize and heal this – on both a public and private platform. The biggest gift that I’ve found is that in moments of self-acceptance, come peace. I look forward to feeling His peace on a more regular basis.

And I’m really glad that I get to share this with you!

Peace & Love,

Jennifer

Love in Action

I have shared many pieces of my adventure with you all. But today – I want to dig a little deeper. I want to take you my mothering and my living – a space that leans upon something and someone so much bigger than me every single day. A space where love is put into action… most of the time.

Last month, I returned home from a trip that should have filled me to the brim. Instead, I landed in Arizona with unfathomable pain. Every inch of my body ached, from the muscles in my eyes to the very tips of my toes. After an evening hanging out in the ER, my 103 fever began to drop; the painkillers took the edge off. (I never take painkillers. I finally had to wean myself off of them last week!) And my rash began to spread. Within 24 hours, I would be covered from head to toe with both an irritable rash and petechaie (broken blood vessels) across all of my extremities. It wouldn’t be for a week that I could think clearly again.

Insider look: My least favorite moment was also my funniest, as I proceeded to de-pit my dates, and then attempt to eat the pits instead of the fruit. Oy!

So, yes, it happened. While in the Keys, I caught the Chikungunya virus. Of course I did! My immune system attacks itself. Often it doesn’t seem to protect me from usual external offenders. I should expect things like this, but I don’t. This is the good and the bad side of being such a positive person. Pausing here… As I write about this, I immediately think of the story of Job. Again and again, the enemy said to the Lord: let me see how much faith this Job has, and Job experienced unfathomable pain too. Except his was profound loss time and again and again. I return to thanking God often for this pain. This pain, the combined lingering remnants of Chikungunya and the beginning of physical and occupational therapy for my autoimmune disharmonies, is nothing compared to that of loss. Pausing again… Why is it that mothers often compare their experience to that of another and berate themselves for their own, very personal, reactions? What I have never paused to recognize, as I should, is that this too is loss. Not like Job’s, but like Jennifer’s. This is my battle with the loss of being well. This is my adventure in putting love into action while not always being at my best.

Anyhow, I was finally feeling so much better before the virus struck! I had made a huge dietary modification with Autoimmune Paleo (AIP), with great results. My gut was feeling better. My energy was up and my pain was down. So, when the fogginess and humor in the Chikungunya wore off… I found myself really ticked. And I pushed everyone close to me away. Again. A common theme in my life is rough spots followed by a disappearing act. But, strangely, you cannot disappear from two small children who want your love, and a husband who now understands your routine!

I was still feeling angry and tired, full of loss, and in pain just a week ago. But, because my hubby put love into action, I was at least aware of my sourness! Aware enough that it took one simple night with our wild little girl to get me back into serving and celebrating – meeting the needs of my children and myself… My two-year old wild (look up #lifewithbliss) was up late, as she sometimes is. And I was folding and putting away laundry. It is my favorite mindfulness project: I breathe. I reflect. I pray. I organize. I do it all alone. But on this particular evening, I couldn’t be alone. And instead of finding more reasons to disconnect, I checked in. I checked into my life as a mother. Ms. Bliss began “folding” laundry beside me. She roared with a shark washcloth on her hand. She laughed as she noticed that in our pile, Daddy and her brother had the exact same shirt. She covered herself with already folded laundry, and snuggled her stuffies alongside her. She had little conversations with herself.

My heart soars again sharing this with you.

Love in action is I’ll do what’s best for you regardless of what’s best for me – knowing that I don’t yet always know what is best for me… but God always does. When we act, are we asking for His help? This is what I am reflecting on as I make my commitments to myself this September 1st.

We won’t move without you. We won’t move without you. We won’t move without you.

Peace & Love, friends. Put love into action. Ask for His help. And know that you are not alone.

The Summer of Self Love Continues

I need to start this post by saying Happy Anniversary to the love of my life. He is by far the strongest person that I’ve yet to meet. It takes a certain kind of person to walk through what we have in the last six years without complaint. And, rarely, has he complained. What he has done is hold me while I cry, visit more doctors than I can count with both myself and our sweet boy, carry me up the stairs and to the shower when I couldn’t walk, and push me toward embracing true self-care. I can’t express how much I love you, my dear. I am blessed – and even better, I know it.

So, why am I stopping by on the night of our anniversary? Because tomorrow, July 11th, makes 4 years from the day that my body let me down in ways that I have not yet been able to describe. 4 years ago today, we were at a Keith Urban concert celebrating our 2nd anniversary. I remember my hair was long and thin, and I had dyed it dark. It was in a braid. I remember wearing the tiniest pair of leggings I’d seen in my adulthood. I remember the stress of leaving our baby – even though he was mostly stable after succumbing to such sickness months before. I remember laughing, but feeling anxious beyond words. I didn’t eat dinner that night because I had just gone gluten free. I didn’t really know what to eat, but that was okay. Maybe my hair would stop falling out… or my body would put on a few pounds with the switch. Maybe I wouldn’t be so tired anymore.

The maybe’s didn’t happen quickly enough. What did happen was 24 hours after that concert, I bent over to pick up a ball for our almost-one-year-old son, and I didn’t get back up. It was the night I met my now-teammate and then-EMT, Audrie. It was the night that I would first not be able to feel both legs, and then just my left. What I did feel was a searing, shredding, burning pain in my low back that even morphine didn’t touch. What I did feel was a fear that I’ve never experienced since, and a depression that lasted for years.

Postpartum was tough – yes! A sick baby… holding a limp child – our limp child – in my arms rocked me to my core. But it didn’t rock me enough to take care of myself. As I healed from my adrenal fatigue, an autoimmune disaster of “possibly” lupus or MS, and a mononeuropathy from a herniated disc and compressed nerves, the light turned on. I adventured through books, and meditations, and yoga, and doctors appointments. And all along the way, one man walked with me, and one man held me. Respectively, my husband and Jesus.

This is why I’m stopping by. You learn who really loves you in times like these. For self love to be truly true… and for you to ROCK LIFE… find a support system. My healing has been therapy, yoga, self-education (aka self-empowerment), gratitude, building my own support system through a business adventure (how crazy?!), and Jesus – but note, I am not fully healed. And I can’t embrace the new normal. Not yet. So for me, I’m always healing, never fighting, and constantly in a book or on my knees.

I still want to rock life. And some days, I really do. I pray the same over you.

Peace & Love,

Jennifer

The Summer of Self-Love

Last week, after watching a YouTube video by the inspiring Tony Robbins, I realized two things: 1. The day before might have been the first time in the history of my life that I had prayed specifically for myself; and 2. Everything – your entire world and what you co-create – starts with love. And love, starts with you.

These were pretty powerful realizations for someone who shouts self-love from the rooftops! Just because I offer myself random acts of kindness, which I do, does not mean that I am truly loving and honoring myself and my adventure every single day. In what I have claimed as “The Summer of Self-Love”, it means that YES, I am going to boldly love myself (I just bought myself my FIRST brand new bicycle of adulthood), and I will focus on the number 90. 90% that is. If my well is not at least 90% full when I wake up each morning, I will seek out ways to fill it. We best love others when we love ourselves, first.

So, in putting the 90 rule out there, I am stepping into a gray zone. What does it mean to be 90% full? Does that mean that I stop, drop, and yoga when I’m feeling less than? Do I pause to pray for myself as soon as I feel on the brink of 89? Do I cancel plans last minute, because healing is my priority – and I cannot serve well without being at my best?? I have to honestly say that I don’t know yet. I just know that I will be taking my “temperature” without being sick. I will be focusing on full instead of wallowing on empty. I believe that this summer is going to be absolutely amazing! This summer is going to be the best summer of my life. And next summer will be even better. And all the spaces in between and far beyond are going to look so very different than they have before.

As our pastor said this week, what if we just prayed and obeyed? This definitely applies to The Summer of Self-Love. It also applies to motherhood, entrepreneur life, and healing from autoimmune. Pray and obey. Simple, sweet, and extraordinary. Lives change when we are brought to our knees.

I look forward to sharing The Summer of Self-Love’s perspective with with my team tonight. It’s such a blessing to be on the path of fearless health, and feel completely supported. I have much gratitude for being allowed to support their adventures!

Peace & Love,

Jennifer

Please note that for years I have written “fighting autoimmune,” as I share my journey, but since my body already fights itself (that is what autoimmune IS – the immune system attacks itself), I have decided that it is time to take a different approach. I choose love. Love heals all. Let’s heal together.

Success

“The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.” –Mark Caine

(I will NOT be held captive.)

Do you ever have times where your mind just rambles off into a direction that you never expected? This afternoon was one of those moments, as I watched Postpartum Progress’ video on their climb next weekend. To think about who I was then and who I am now… it is completely surreal.

I remember being absolutely numb at the birth of our sweet boy. I never told a soul, but instead I lived in darkness for quite a while. Almost 5 years later, there are only tiny scars – memories – left as a reminder of where I’ve been. I still wish that I had spoken out – but I thought that the anxiety which consumed me (through both pregnancies) would make others think differently of me. My pride won, for sure. I am a really positive person, and I needed to maintain that image. But two complicated pregnancies, a history of body image and autoimmune challenges, plus one year of a super sick baby crushed my “happiest human” perspective.

(I will NOT be held captive.)

I don’t know when the healing began – but I know that some time around when we decided to move to Arizona – around the same time that I started this business – that I began to notice a greater freedom in my spirit… Maybe it was January, when I claimed this as “The Year of Fearless Health.” (In all honesty, my mind was on the physical side… but emotional and spiritual growth has tagged along. I was just aiming to heal my autoimmune – big enough goal, right??)

I love that God has plans that we don’t even know about yet. I am glad to be in a space to honor this. Finally.

(I will NOT be held captive.)

Anyhow, for those who didn’t know about the above, I was held captive. But, now I am free. And freedom, is MY definition of success. Freedom is my why. It’s why I teach, why I advocate, why I self-care… it’s why I coach and mentor and pray. Because we all need to be free. We all need to find it in ourselves to pause and to truly become alive.

We need to not be captive, to anything. We are made for so much more. I hope you agree.

Flock Life

Some days, I wonder: What does “living in pain” mean to the general population – those who are not living with it?


My own fear of what others would think kept me from writing about this adventure in chronic autoimmune disease for a few years now. It’s been far too long. So, if I seem overly excited to share the high’s and the low’s, know it is because I don’t want to hide. I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to be misunderstood. And most importantly, I don’t want those of you struggling to be misunderstood either. It has taken me 19 years to share my story without putting up my defenses.

You see, for so many of the years that I have lived in pain, I have also believed that I deserved to be in pain. That pain was part of my calling. Pain is not a part of anyone’s calling. Healing is. It is in healing that I am learning self-love over and over again. Every time I stray from it, I fall back to my knees. It is in healing that I am learning God’s great plan for us. We are to be a blessing on every path we co-design and take. We cannot receive what we have not earned. There is a new part of me that believes my pain has lingered for so long because I haven’t been a blessing. I have not been sharing the autoimmune adventure, and in suffering in quiet, others keep suffering in quiet too. God isn’t punishing me, but I haven’t fully stepped out yet so that I can live in the light that he wants for me.

Some pretty profound thoughts for a Wednesday night, I guess. But after writing them, I feel at peace. God’s plan for us includes building and serving our community. This is mine. Unlabeled, yet at one point defined by motherhood, holistic wellness, a need to learn more, a passion for “virtual self-love ministry,” an entrepreneurial spirit, brokenness, and re-designing life – especially in an autoimmune approach, my community is composed of those on a similar path. Yours should be too. I don’t say this to exclude… but to honor the words I have been given again and again: Find your flock and take them to higher ground.

Find your people. Be with your flock. And adventure with them toward higher ground. It will change your life…

It’s changing mine for sure.

as we let our own light shine