Just A Little Soapbox Sounding

I was once told that one should not preach their pet peeves. But I’m going to. Right now. 
We are in a terrible time. A time where parents are clueless about what their kids are doing, saying, and acting. Kids go to school and literally tear each other apart, and then come home satisfied that their parents would “never believe they would do something like that”. Truth of the matter is – PARENTS NEED TO PAY ATTENTION. 
Your child may be involved in BULLYING. 
AND YOU PROBABLY DO NOT EVEN KNOW IT!
Please, talk to your children. Skin color, family heritage, social standings, clothes, shoes, language, interests – all of these make us unique – NOT WRONG. There is NEVER a time that it is appropriate for ANYONE to judge another, and make them feel less of a person. Teach your children now that differences should be embraced, not poked fun of. 
I am taking a STAND AGAINST BULLYING. I won’t stop until I’m heard. For every kid who feels deep, loves heavy, and is old beyond their time….. They seem to encounter the nastiness of others more so than anyone else. Too many are impacted, and not enough are defended. 
PARENTS – ADULTS – TAKE A STAND
STOP BULLYING

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Whispers

My giant whispers.

He whispers that who I am, gives permission to others to act negatively towards me. The wind carries his vioce as he mumbles that my decisions allow others to stand in judgement and throw stones. Moments pass as I process what I hear. It is low frequency, similar to a buzzing bee…. He laughs as I begin to believe that being me is ultimately the green light for the world to destroy me.

It is my fault. I laugh too loud, I talk too much. My life does not match that of my giant and his camp. He is bigger than me – in everything, and I am a mere speck…..I am my worst enemy…….

It is nothing new…..I see it every day. I voted differently than you – I am going to hell. I have a LGBT friend, and I love them – I am NOT normal. I have a friend who decided being a stay at home mom was best for her family – and I see NOTHING wrong with it – I am blind to the truth. My beliefs, my thoughts, my actions, my LIFE does not match yours – I AM WRONG and I WILL PAY. 

How easily it is now to put your options out for the world to see. We hide behind a keyboard and a screen, throwing our hate like slop to the pigs. And we believe it is okay. . . Even more so, some of us ACT on that hate. We stand in corners, whispering about others…..we ostracize, we degrade, we laugh at, we make OUR opinions known – one way or the other. 

But, that is the world. I DO NOT live by the world’s standards. My Papa says to love others. To “judge not, lest ye be judged”. He says to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, and to help the helpless. Does that mean I can’t disagree with their choices? NO! But, just because I disagree, does not grant me permission to punish. 

The enemy will do their best to convince you – US – that differences are WRONG. The truth is, our differences make us Wonderful. The rose and the wild flower are both have blooms. One has thorns, the other may carry chiggers…… BOTH are beautiful. BOTH can be harmful. BOTH are admired by many. NEITHER are wrong for the world.

  LET THAT SINK IN. 

So when you have an “unction” to spew, just think of the world and ALL of it’s blooms. Each were made to be beautiful in it’s own right. Just as each and every person in this world was. 

Dear giant, who whispers lies, I will live as my Papa has made me to live. . . FULL of life, FULL of love, and FULL of HIM!

And so it goes…..

I made up my mind when I started writing again that I would be honest. 

So here I am…..devastated. 

I wanted something. REALLY wanted this. REALLY needed this. All of my hopes, all of my heart, was dedicated to this. one. thing. I prayed for it. I spoke in faith over it. I did everything I was supposed to do. 

I DIDN’T GET IT. . .

I have cried. I have yelled. I have been angry at everyone – myself, the people involved, GOD. I have been miserable today. I just do not understand why. WHY????? This would change my life. It would change my family’s lives. It would be a TRUE answer to prayers. And it didn’t happen. Those who know the situation tell me everything I have told others – “we only see a sliver of the picture – there’s a reason”, “trust there is something better coming”, “God has a plan, trust it”…… 

So I sit, and cry. And write. Then…..This:

When I was little, I would tell everyone I met I wanted to be a truck driver. Just like my daddy. I loved those HUGE trucks, and my daddy was amazing at driving them. As a matter of fact, I still love seeing them at night, all lit up, sitting high above everything…….

But my daddy would tell me “Jennifer, you need to get an education. Be more than I am. Be your own boss….”

It was my dream, and my daddy thought it wasn’t good enough for me…..

He knew it wasn’t good enough for me. 

And if my earthly daddy loves me this much, how much more does my Heavenly Daddy love me? 

Heartbroken I sit. My eyes hurt from crying. My head hurts from thinking. My heart – just hurts. But – BUT – I love my daddy. Even more so, I love my Papa. My momma told me today to be the light. I am only a flicker, He is the flame. 

And as much as it hurts, as the tears still come, as the thoughts still invade – I will stand. I will dream again. I will triumph……..Eventually……

(Side note: I do know it is not grammatically correct to begin a sentence with “and”. Sometimes, life is messy – writing can be as well!)

Roses, Fairies, and Papa

It’s the rose bush that the gardner has pruned, that blooms the fullest…….

Or, so I think. 

This summer I began walking at lunch. It became my therapy time – it was 20-30 minutes to escape and breathe. The day I noticed the rose garden, it was not due to the sheer abundance of roses, but the aroma that was wafting through the air. As I hustled over to the small (yet massive) garden, my spirits lifted. Oh! How I adore roses. The garden had been planted by the adjoining church for the Hope Chest – a center for cancer patients. (Which, on a side note, is an amazing center that does tremendous acts of kindness for those affected by cancer. Look it up!) 

So began my obsession. I believe I took pictures of the roses everyday. Each one was different, reminding me of little things (like fairies) or bigger things (like Papa’s love for me). If it was not raining, I was taking pictures. 


One day I finally met the gardner. It just so happens that he was my pediatrician, as well as my children’s! I spoke to him about how beautiful they were, and how each type of rose was amazing in it’s own way. He and another gardner teased me about the pictures, but this soon paid off. At the end of the season, when the concern of frost was just too great, the gardner  began to prune. My luck (providence) was that I was walking just at that moment! I was given my own beautiful bouquet of ornate roses. . . 


I still walk when it is not too cold or nasty out. Today was gorgeous, so I slipped out at lunch to soak up some sun. As I came down the small hill, I saw the garden – bare – just long prickly sticks jutting from the earth. I could not help but walk to it. I was drawn by a need to remember. To remember the joy the blooms brought to me, the way the scent warmed me, the way my mind and eyes converted tangible beauty into soul satisfying truth……


Then, I saw it. Not just a little green, but an overwhelming amount of strong, green stems coming to life. I pulled out my phone and began to snap pictures. That is when it happened. It was as if He was standing right beside me, as I heard Papa say ” The gardner pruned these lovelies, now look at the new growth. Remind you of anything?” I sighed. I knew what life lesson I was learning. . .

It has been rough these past few weeks. Truthfully, the last few years have been horrid. Recently, however, I have felt the sting of disappointment more so than usual. Everyday I say “I just want something good to happen today”. People and items have been removed mentally and physically from me and from my family. I struggle with the war that rages in my mind. I struggle with insecurity, unrest, health issues, and above all else – people. People who I trusted, people who I cared for, people I thought I needed. Today though, I saw why I have endured some pain. The pruning that is being done is to allow for a regrowth. A …… revitalization of sorts. 


I still cried tonight. I still ache with anticipation for good news, good days, and happy nights. Yet…… When I laid in the bathtub – sobbing as the worship music played – Papa reminded me of those precious rose bushes. He reminded me that He is the Gardner of my life. He has planted me, fed me, watered me, admired me….and pruned me. Each step, each season, each calculated snip is His plan, His desire, and ultimately HIS gain. Because, my Papa? He loves to see me grow and bloom!

Vision

It is unnervingly quiet in my home this morning.  The kids spent the night at other homes last night, and my mister is out working hard. Currently, the only sounds are the dogs wrestling, and my sausage patty cooking.

I woke up in the middle of the night, which is not uncommon, however this time I did not have my audio book playing. See, I do not do well with silence. Silence allows my mind to think. About everything. In my life, at this moment, there is an abundance of “everything”. So, it took a while for me to fall back to sleep. In that amount of time, as my thoughts were running amuck, I started to pray. 

Now, let me just say, I am honest with God. He already knows my thoughts, so why hold back? If that offends you, I am not sorry. He’s my poppa. If I can’t be real with him, I do not have a true relationship. So, I told Him I was mad. I am facing a HUGE Goliath in my life right now – HUGE. Why do I ALWAYS have to be a David? Why can I not be a pretty princess – just this once – and have Him sweep in, cut the head off of the giant, while I sit and clap – shouting “That’s my Poppa!”? In my soul I heard “you are a warrior”. NO. No – I do not WANT to be a warrior. I am TIRED. My mind is tired, my heart is tired, my body is tired. I feel like a walk in a state of exhaustion. Then I heard “David did not wear armor when he faced Goliath. Take off the armor of others that you have put on.” You gotta be kidding me! (Okay, so I did get a little irritated here.) I had not put on ANY “armor”. I was just doing my best to follow wisdom from others, I had researched, emailed, and spoken to so many people –  oh………

My heart stilled. I understood. I was convinced that I was depending on God for wisdom on how to slay my Goliath. But in truth, all I needed was one stone, one slingshot, and David’s eyes.  David’s vision. 

David KNEW what Goliath was. He knew how many others had tried to defeat him. He knew that Saul’s armor would get in his way. He did not see Goliath as everyone else did. He saw Goliath the way God did. Defeated.  

I know David’s story so well. I envision him standing there, looking at Goliath, almost smirking. Goliath is spitting out insults, and the crowd is scoffing at David. Now though, after last night, I can see David’s eyes. I can imagine this look of victory (you  know that look that as a kid, you would give your sibling when you knew they were getting ready to get in trouble for hurting you). I think he probably looked Goliath right in the eyes, with this piercing stare. Maybe Goliath already knew he was defeated when the stone came out of the slingshot……..

I ended my prayer last night asking for David’s vision. He set his sights on the Lord, and the Lord’s victory. He was honest with God – even at times praying that his enemy would be murdered! He was imperfect, but he never quit. He was driven. As a warrior, as a musician, as a king – his vision was set. I want that. I need that. 

Fellow travelers, I hope that you will see my heart in this. I covet your prayers – as I am still facing my Goliath. I pray that when your Goliath comes, that you will find your eyes set – like Davids!

Re-Entry Fee

So, on this journey of “finding myself”, I have also been on a cleanse. As in, a body cleanse. Ten days of no sugar, no flour, no alcohol, no fried food –  just lean protein, veggies, fruit, and good ol’ water.  I have been taking some awesome supplements to help me get my insides back to a good place (love my Advocare!), and I am part of an amazing team of people who encourage me everyday.

Part of this body work has included me getting back to exercise. Not that I had really stopped exercising, I just wasn’t really diligent with it. However!!! That had to change. As a full time employee at an 8 – 5 job, with three kids involved in sports and social activities, my exercise time is limited. Unless I want to be the walking during my work day due to getting up at the crack of dawn (which, if you do – I aplaud you), I have to be creative with my exercise time.

As I was trotting (okay power walking) around the high school the other night – in the dark, at 7:30 pm – a sign caught my eye. Now, please know, as a football/cheer mom I have seen this sign numerous times. This time, though, I stopped and took a picture of it. I heard a voice say to me “That only applies to the field, not your life”. Here’s my sign:


Now, dieting is not easy. Exercise is not easy. LIFE is not easy. But we are a blessed people! We can make a decision any day, at any time to make a life change. We can change the way we eat, the way we move, the way we live…….The best part???? We are not penilized.  Sure, we can be hard on ourselves. Having a moment of weakness and eating a bowl (or carton) of ice cream does not have to ruin weeks of healthy living. Skipping a workout, or not meeting our daily step goal, does not negate weeks (or even days) of exercise. Do we have to work a little harder? Sure! But there is no charge to start again.

That voice I heard? It was my Poppa. He was reminding me that He paid the price, the only price ever needed, for me. If I leave, fall away, drift off, or have a moment of weakness, I can “re-enter” a fabulous life. His grace, His mercy, His love is all I need. There is no payment needed! There is no judgement, only His loving arms! This is a hard lesson for me. I would love to tell you that as easily as I write this, that I live it. The truth is, I struggle with it. The thought that my sins are not held against me, that my mistakes are are all forgotten, and that who I am is more than enough…….Yeah, my mind wrestles with that. I am learning to embrace that knowledge, though. Hence, the amplified version…….

Listen, we are all sinners. We are all overindulgers – in something. We are lazy – about something. We fail – at some aspect of life. BUT! There is not a re-entry free. Christ died for our sins – all of them. He loves us as we are, and desires the closest relationship possible with us. We can overcome addiction, laziness, and failure – if we set our eyes on the goal and walk in faith. Walk in faith, holding Poppa Gods hand. (That way we can feel Him jerk us away from that ice cream! Just kidding….not really!)

Journey on, peeps! Walk an amplified life!

Tell Us A Little

About yourself…..This should be an easy prompt. “Tell us a little about yourself”…. we see this prompt on our social media accounts, on job applications, and even hear it in interviews. The world believes that each and every one of us should be able and willing to express a response to this simple prompt. So why is it so hard for me to give a response right now?

Maybe it is not that I can not answer the prompt. Maybe it the fear that what I say will hurt. It will hurt me, and or others. Maybe it is due to the “undoing” of what I once believed I was, what I dreamed of being, what I needed to be. Maybe, just maybe the realization that I am not who or what I said I was, and being honest about it, will cause more pain than hope.

Let me just be honest: If  I “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” to this prompt, there will be some of you who walk away. Or, maybe not. So, since I feel like I have lost my adventurousness, I’m just going to go with it…….

Let me “tell you a little about” myself. In the past four years I have lost everything I once thought I was, including a writer. I have let the influences of others over-ride my inner being. You know, the inner being that helps you dream? The one that tells you that you ARE different, and that is good…..the one that tells you to get up after being knocked down…..the one that sounds a LOT like your mom telling you that you are a warrior – oh wait, maybe just MY mom said that!

There are those of us who have lost ourselves. We have been trudging through  life in a cloud of others expectations and calling it life. We hear words of discouragement, judgement, ridicule, and lies and call it music – because it is all we hear. There are those of us who revel in accolades from our enemies and call it love. We need to be awoken. We need to know what life, love, music, beauty, and joy truly is……

The hard truth is that so many who are trudging in that cloud, once knew the true life, the true love, the true joy. They were once dreamers, singers, artists, lovers……Who will reach out to them – to us?

Let be clear: this is not a “woe is me” blog. I am simply stating a fact – there are so many who live a false life, just hanging on and searching for just ONE GOOD THING to happen. . . So can you be that one thing for someone today? Or tomorrow?

I am going on a journey, starting right now. I am going to find myself again. The road will most likely be hard, and at times almost unbearable, but I have to do this. I HAVE to get out of this nasty, stinch filled cloud. I hope you will join me. If not out of pure inquisitiveness, but maybe to help yourself or someone you love.

“Finding Jenni – The Amplified Version” begins……….