Sunday, February 23, 2014

Uniquely Genius

I had the privilege of taking a busload of youth from our church to ski at Paoli Peaks over the past holiday weekend.  We spent 4 days together.  I loved skiing with the kids, playing games with the kids, building snowmen, having snowball fights, making snow angels, listening to music, crying, laughing, talking about everything or nothing at all.  The best part of the trip was being able to see the teens in a non-educational environment and being able to appreciate them for who they are.  Not who the "educational system" thinks they should  be.  Let me elaborate a bit on what I mean.

Everyone wants the straight A kid to be theirs.  Straight A kids are awesome!  Many don't have to bust it to make the A's.  They are just gifted with intelligence.  Not that they are all gifted to be in a special gifted program but more just that they are what generalities would deem to be smart kids.  I loved being with this group of kids this weekend because it didn't matter what grades they made in school this weekend.  They could play cards, games, ski, snowboard, build snowmen and all be on a level playing field.  I had no idea who was "smart" and who had to work themselves to death to make C's.  It did not matter.  I love that.  Sometimes I think we judge kid's worth or value on what they can make on a report card rather than focus on the whole child and how well rounded they are.

When are children are born, we want them to be the best at everything.  We want them to be the smartest, the most beautiful, the first to do everything.  And until they go to school, they are because they are perfect in our eyes.  When they go to school, suddenly they are judged on the world's scale and it isn't always as pretty as we dreamed it would be.  I have been blessed with three average children.  They are not the best academically in any area.  They are simply average.  In my house, we celebrate D's if we worked hard to get them.  I am suggesting that average is good.

Back to the ski trip, it occurred to me that everyone was on a level playing field.  No one had a "diagnosis" of ADHD, Autism, Gifted, Average or any other possible category that children are placed in while attending school.  Everyone was just there to have fun.  None of those categories mattered. It is so good for kids to get away from school and escape on a retreat.  Home is one of those retreat places.  Coming home from school is a chance to get away from categories.  It did not matter what you made on your last report card during the snowman building competition.  I loved that.  I loved watching the kids interact and have a great time together.  I loved watching kids laugh and cry together.  Kids loving Jesus.  Kids loving each other.  It was a blessing to me just to be there.

By no means am I trying to criticize the educational system.  I think there are things that are great about our educational system and also things that could be improved.  I understand that sometimes a label is a useful tool.  But I am also suggesting that it is wonderful to throw off labels and just be kids.  Just play.  Just enjoy.  Just be ourselves.  I enjoyed seeing 60 teens just being themselves this past weekend.

I think Albert Einstein said it best when he said, "Everyone is a genius.  But if we judge a fish on it's ability to climb a tree it will spend it's whole life believing it is stupid."  Today I am thankful that I had the chance to spend some time with some awesome kids who could climb trees, swim, snowboard, play games, identify music like Name that Tune, and just be themselves.  And no one lined them up and asked them all to climb a rope and ring a bell.  For if they were, some would believe they were not athletic.  We just embraced the students and enjoyed their talents.  Maybe we all need to be a little more tolerant of differences and appreciate that God made us all different.  He made us all uniquely genius.

Thanks so much for reading my blog.  I am so excited to see what God has in store for me with the launch of my first book too!  (If I ever finish it and come up with a name for it)  Please subscribe to my musings by putting your email address in the box at the right.  If you are on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom and click on "View Web Version" then the box will appear at the right.  Invite me to speak at your next event.

Until next time,

Monday, February 10, 2014

Workout on Limited Time

I have been a stay at home mom most of the last 18 years.  I have worked a few jobs in that span, but basically have been at home with my children.  For the last 4 years I have been a runner.  I am in the best shape of my life at the current time.  I am strong, have endurance, but I still have muffin tops and too much fat in my gut.  I am steadily moving toward accepting this.  When I work out, make mostly healthy choices with my food, drink a diet Dr. Pepper per day, drink a lot of water every day, eat a piece of pie sometimes, eat some cookies now and then, run some miles in a week, control my portions and move more, I can't expect any more from myself.  I think that is a healthy, balanced recipe for me.  If I do all of that and still have muffin tops and a flabby gut then I believe God made me that way and I should just be happy with that.  Let's face it, have we ever met anyone that is completely happy with their body?  Even when I lost 30 pounds last year and was the skinniest I have been in my adult life I was not happy with the way I look, and to top it off, I wasn't eating enough calories in a day to even feel good.  I was skinny but didn't feel good.  There is a healthy balance.  I feel great right now with my muffin tops and my flab.

I have a new appreciation for our working moms out there.  Since I got my temporary "job" driving the Blue Hairs for the retirement community, I have been working every day.  I am exhausted.  However, I have really dug deep to figure out how to get some exercise while I work every day.  It sounds glorious when you see posts from your friends who stay home and how they spent 2 hours at the gym or two hours running.  Great!  But who has time for that when there is homework, housework, dinner, baths, etc.??  These are things that kept me up at night when I first started my job.  If you want details about my new job, click here:

Anywho, I have several suggestions on how to get some exercise when you have very limited time.  Some days I have gotten up early and put in an exercise video to do.
The Biggest Loser Workout - Cardio Max (DVD)
This is the video I have.  I love The Biggest Loser video series mainly because they have regular looking people doing the workouts with belly flab like me.  People like me who just want to be healthy and not sport a six pack and Arnold Schwarzenegger muscles.  Don't get me wrong, I would love to have a six pack but I have never had one even last year when I was too thin.  God didn't make me to have a six pack.  Another thing I like about the Biggest Loser videos is that they are 10-20 minutes long.  On days that I am tired, if I get in 10-20 minutes it is better than no minutes.  Amen.  These workout videos are also wonderful when it is freezing cold outside.  I have run many runs in the freezing blistering cold.  This winter is not one that I am running.  I have not run since my Disney race in mid January.  I will get back out Saturday and run but for the most part, I am taking a break from running and strengthening my muscles.  Today, I just finished my video.  After dinner, I went to my living room and was like Nike.  I Just Did It.  My new word is OVERRULED!  When I feel like I don't want to exercise because I am tired, I say to myself, OVERRULED!  and I just do it.

Something else I do at work is do lunges or leg lifts on the elevator.  I know it is such a short ride but I am doing something.

Instead of beating ourselves up for what we don't do maybe we should spend some time praising ourselves for what we did do.  Like do a workout video for 20 minutes.  Maybe we should praise ourselves for eating 3 donuts instead of our normal 4.  Folks, the journey to healthy living starts with one small step.  One little tiny victory.  The journey to healthy living does not mean we will all be skinny, it means we will live life making healthy choices and enjoying life.  It is not a life of constant denial, it is a life of balanced discipline and rewards.

I love The Biggest Loser.  The finale of the last series was a week ago.  I was a little disturbed by the winner's ultimate physique.  She weighed 105 pounds.  A lot of people weigh that and look healthy in their petite frames, but she was tall and looked unhealthily thin.  I looked it up and they had been allowed 800 calories in a day.  I felt like, as wonderful as she looked, it was a little bit too thin for her.  An unhealthy thin.  No one can eat 800 calories in a day and feel good.  I know because I tried that last year and lost a lot of weight doing it, but felt like dooky.  It isn't worth it.  Being healthy does not necessarily mean we will be thin.  God made us all different and all of us are not made to be really thin.  We all have our own version of healthy.

I feel a bit like today's blog is a lot of rambling, but someone must need this because this is what God laid on my heart today.  I pray that whoever needed this rambling today be blessed.  Thank you so much for reading my blog and don't forget to visit my website at

Have a great day!!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Calls from God, Conversations and Cottage Cheese

Before I get into today's blog post I would like to thank you all for reading!  This post today is my 101 blog post.  It amazes me every day that anyone would want to read my musings.  But you do, and I am grateful.  If I make a difference in just one person then it is worth the effort to put down my thoughts in a blog.

A few weeks ago I mentioned that God speaks directly to me.  There are several reasons why, but the main one is that I feel like God is my screenplay writer and I am just the lead actress in a drama.  His drama production is perfection.  I sit back and act as I feel led. I have spent a lot of years trying to control every little thing in my life and it doesn't work.  So now I just let the Holy Spirit lead me.  That being said, let me get to my new job.  Yes, new job.  No, we are not in financial trouble and Jennifer had to go to work.  No, Jennifer was not looking for a job.  No, Jennifer didn't need a job.  BUT, God needed Jennifer to act.  Which brings me to my phone call from God.

Two weeks ago, I was sitting folding laundry minding my own business when I got a phone call from an unknown number.  Generally, I don't answer unknown numbers but I felt like I should so I did.  It was a phone call from God.  He needed me.  He used the activities director at a local assisted living and memory care facility to bring me where I needed to be right now.  Here is cornbread language:  The activities director at a local old folks home called out of the clear blue sky and said that their bus driver was injured and he needed a CDL driver to help him out.  I immediately said, "Sure, I would love to help!"  Well, since I wasn't looking for a job, I didn't expect to go for an interview, fill out masses of paperwork, etc. but I was apparently official :)  The gentleman who called me asked me when I could come in for an interview and I said, "My children are home for a snow day today."  He said, "You can bring them with you."  I knew then that he really needed my help.  So, I went for the interview, updated my resume, etc.  I ended up going for my drug test, background check, and mounds of paperwork for my new "job".

I didn't see this as a job at all.  I am a stay at home mom.  But God needed me at the facility.  So I went.  I have been working there for 3 days now.  I went to help out the Activities Director by driving the bus.  Instead I am the one who is on the receiving end of this deal.  I feel as full as I ever have in my life.  God has me right where He needs me right now.  I have met many residents, and although I can't remember all of their names, I know them when I see them and they know me.  My job is basically to be their beck and call driver.  They sign up on a list if they have a doctor's appointment, need to go to walmart, the grocery, bank, or anywhere.  I take them, wait for them, and bring them back.  I love it.  I feel like I am making a difference.
Friday, I took a lady to visit her husband who is in another nursing home in Gallatin.  Before I left, I went around and asked if any of the other residents needed to go anywhere in Gallatin.  No takers this time, but one lady did say she needed some cottage cheese.  She gave me the money for the cheese and I was on my way to Gallatin.  The conversation was nice on the way to the nursing home.  We talked about many things including how many children we have.  We also talked about alzheimers disease and how horrible it is.  The lady's husband has it.  God had me right at the correct place and the right time.  Since we have been dealing with alzheimers disease with my mother in law, I knew just what to say and talk about to make her feel better about her husband.  After I picked her up later in the day, we were talking and she said, "Me and you are just good friends.  Isn't this only your second day?"  I said, "Yes."  She said, "Well I love you and we are going to be just fine together."  My life is complete.  Back to the cottage cheese, I brought the resident back the cottage cheese, took it to her in her room, and she was so excited!  I stuck my head in the door and said, "Cottage Cheese delivery!"  She said, "Oh my goodness that was fast!"  Then I got out the cheese from the bag and handed it to her and she said, "HOW did you know that I like Daisy brand cottage cheese?"  I said, "Well, God just laid it on my heart to choose Daisy.  I am glad you like it."  She said, "You have made my day."  My life is complete again.  Conversations and Cottage cheese-Changing lives one curd and one word at a time.


I am excited to be doing what God wants me to do right now.  One day, the regular bus driver will be healthy again and I will only be on an as needed basis.  But for now, I will drive regularly and spread joy through Conversations and Cottage Cheese.  Today I leave you with a conversation between me and an elderly gentleman on my first day:

Me:  Hi!  I'm Jennifer, the new bus driver.
Man:  Well I am ____. (Names always left out to protect those who may not want to be blogged about)
Me: Nice to meet you, _____.  I am going to Walmart at 1 today, do you need to go?
Man:  Well, we need to do something about your hair before we go to Walmart.
Me:  Yes!  We do.  What do we need to do with it?
Man:  We need to comb it or maybe a wig would do.
Me:  I think so too!  This morning a beaver attacked me and chewed my hair off!
Man:  That sounds scary!

I was surprised that I made it until noon of my first day before someone said something about my hair.  I was super excited that finally someone said something!  Again, thanks so much for reading my blog!  You can subscribe to it by entering your email address in the box at the right.  If you are on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom and click on View Web Version.  Then you will see the box on the right.  If you subscribe, then you will receive an email each time I update my blog.  Also , don't forget to hire me to speak at your next event!  I can speak on your topic or mine.

Have a great day and don't forget to let me know how God speaks to you!