Thursday, June 12, 2014

The House That Built Me: Selling houses, Moving North, Saying Goodbye

In late 1994 my parents started a mission to build their own house. My mom found an acre of land she liked and purchased it. They also began searching for the right financial institution to loan money from. That is when our journey began. Building got momentarily delayed in early 1995 when my mothers father, my grandpa, suddenly lost his battle with human consciousness.  We flew to California for the funeral and when we got home we resumed building our house.  It is important you understand the time line on these events because a few people seem to think the only reason we built the house was because my mom got a pretty hefty life insurance settlement with her father passed you can see things were already in the works. Just to clarify but I digress.
This house took a little over a school year and a half to complete. I was young so that is how I marked it. When we first moved in there were only about 8 houses on our street. Over the last 19 years we have seen this neighborhood flourish. The road is now paved, they hooked the sewer up, and you can also get cable TV! All that stuff seems like not a big deal but I can assure is!
The yard was filled with huge rocks and the driveway was made of mud...but in time we transformed this place into a home. This is the house that built me.

If only these walls could talk. They would tell you about so many late night giggle with friends, the tears from teenage emotions. They would tell you all about the many people who have stepped through the doors. The fights, the hugs, the laughter...this house holds so many of our family secrets and great memories...this is like saying goodbye to an old and very dear friend.
The first night we moved it we sat on the kitchen floor and ate a pizza...I do hope that is how we spend our last. When your childhood home is no longer home...its a very strange feeling.
For those of you who are unaware my parents and I have decided to leave our comfort zone for Nebraska. Why? Well for starters they dont want to leave Hayden but they want to they invited us to go along. Second, this town is everything I've ever dreamt of. It is small, friendly, and they celebrate things the way you see in movies. The school district is in one building! Hayden is going to grow up in a beautiful place. We have a house there and my parents have one right down the street. It will be a new adventure. Im not sure where life will lead us, but I am happy with the direction so far.
My wish is that the family that has bought my childhood home will love it like I did. I hope that they take care of it, make her their own, and confide in her walls. She holds nearly 20 years of our families life, our secrets. I hope she can hold 20 of theirs.

Friday, May 16, 2014

And I will always love you

When I was just four years old my parents packed up everything they owned and drove my sister and I to Cabot, Arkansas all because they were tired of driving. Seriously, that is how they've always said they picked this town. They wanted something new so they drove until they thought something looked good. I could've easily landed anywhere, but as fate would have it I was here. My entire life has been spent in this little town. I have watched it mature and grow just as I have. We've grown up together.
I learned how to ride a bike on her streets, I met my very first beat friend, I even became educated with her as I went to school in the district. My first kiss was here, my first boyfriend...pretty much every significant thing that has happend to me has happend right here in this town. 
The people that I have met here are one of a kind. I have met people who I wish I hadnt, ones that it will break my heart to leave, and others that made me who I am.  Though the thing is, I'm merely a shell of a person. There isnt much more I can do here. I've reached my peak in this town. I cannot grow anymore with in these city limits. So naturally thing thing to do is leave. I am a person who loves change. I am constantly challenging myself and taking myself away from all that I find comfortable.
I am going to be leaving the only life ive known. I have built a life here, but please understand that I am not satisfied. I want more. I want somwthing different.
It is so hard to say goodbye. In the next month that is what I will be doing. Saying goodbye to this town and all of you. I will be saying goodbye to my very first home.  The place that holds so many memories. I will be leaving with some unkindled friendships and honestly it breaks me...but there isnt much that can be done.
With my heart I have to believe that this is the right move for my little family. I need to believe that. I need to get out of this state. My child will grow up in a small town and he will feel the same way eventually. With the way the world is, I dont mind taking him somewhere where I know he will be safe.
I will miss this place and I will miss all of you so much it will be physically painful. Things will be sketchy at first. I amy not have cell reception for a bit nor will I have internet access...know that when I move I will be in contact as soon as I can.
Before I leave if you are important to me we need to have night out. We need a farewell party. I will come back and visit from time to time, but you never know where life may lead. 
So as I pack away over 20 years of memories the magnitude of my decisions is weighing upon me. This is extremely difficult. There are some places I will never visit again once I leave. Like this house. I wont go back, I cant. To see a place I've grown up in being inhabited by strangers, the thought is even to much to bear. So if you see me in these next few weeks and I am in a catatonic state, or am just super emotional...cut me some slack. Life just got real.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Are you there God? It's me, Jennifer

A few months ago I was a devout Atheist.  I was convinced that there was nothing more to this life than what you see.  When you die you are either placed 6 feet under or in an urn and that was that.  There was no divine intervention, no man upstairs.  There just was.  I don't believe that I have ever been a "bad" person.  I have just had different views on things.  To me, for so long, people would make me feel as though since I had those opinions God and I couldn't be on the same page. 

That was wrong.

I would like to say that since I started working for a faith based organization, that faith came easier for me...this wasn't the case though.  If anything it became more difficult.  I would see the thing that went on there and listen to what people would talk about.  It wasn't any different than any other place I had ever worked.  If anything it was worse, if only for the fact that I was holding them to a higher standard due to the type of organization that it was. 

Recently, I noticed myself becoming more and more bitter.  I was angry at everyone.  Who do you turn to when your heart is filled with hate?  Who can you talk to when you don't want to speak to anyone?  For some of you faith has come very easily. I use the term easily very loosely.  Many people around me were born into a religion.  They were raised with it.  I was not.  Don't misinterpret, my parents and family are wonderful people...we just never went to church.  Prayed once a year.

This past week I have been listening to Christian music, my mood has changed considerably.   I have begun to pray as well.  I'm not comfortable enough to call myself a Christian again just yet. But I don't believe I fit into the atheist category anymore at this point.  I believe I am transitioning.  People tend to believe that religion is black and white. You either believe or you don't.  It is so much more complex than that.  Life is so much more complex than black and white.  We live in this beautiful grey area. 

A song that truly began this journey for me was Casting Crowns "Just Another Birthday".  For those of you familiar with mine and Haydens story you can see how this song would bring me to my knees.  The first time I heard it, the tears were flowing freely. 

"Jesus, can You hear me
Come and heal my brokenness
Put the pieces back together
And be a Father to the fatherless"

We have been facing some very difficult times lately.  I have specifically. I have kept them from Hayden but he will deal with them in a completely different way when he is older.  It creates some very big anxiety for me.  I believe that any parent would feel this way if faced with similar situations.  How can I let him know that it was never his fault and that he is wonderful?  I can't do that alone, I need help.  So hearing this song by Casting Crowns was a wake up call.  Maybe one day I will have a story about finding God that will inspire others, right now...I'm just trying to figure it all out myself.  Something I need to remember, that we all need to remember is to not let others shape how we feel about the situation.  We have to find Jesus on our own.  No matter how you were raised, what church you were brought up in, you have to make the decision on how you believe, how you feel. 

I'm not sure when I will figure it out, if I ever will.  Just know that I think I am headed in the right direction for me and Hayden.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

I dreamed a dream...

Every single person alive has a dream.  Whether or not we achieve them is completely up to us. There is no dream to small or no dream too large, there are just dreams.  If we want them we must go after them.  Who is to say a dream is unachievable?  When we were younger we wanted to be things such as an Astronaut, a veterinarian, a Teacher, name it and someone out there wanted to be it when they grew up. Somewhere along the lines we all let that go.  Well not all but many of us.  I wanted to be a Marine Biologist, Veterinarian, Teacher, and Actress...all at the same time.

My dreams are HUGE, they are astronomical.  For one, I intend to lose at least 50 lbs.  I will achieve it through hard work and dedication.  I'm on my own timeline, no one Else's.  That's the thing about dreams, you have to work on them in your own time.  People from every direction are either going to encourage you are they are going to bring you down.  Very rarely will you ever meet a person who is indifferent towards your dreams.  Everyone has an opinion and they feel theirs is the most important one in the world.  It's not.  Yours is. 

As you all have learned either through your own experiences or someone elses, life tends to throw curve balls like they are going out of style.  I couldn't tell you how many of my plans have been detoured due to some unforeseen circumstance...notice I said detoured and not cancelled?  You can't let road blocks keep you from the end point. 
Roadblocks, detours, unplanned pregnancies, divorce, fired from your job...whatever you want to call these moments they are what you make them.  You can either let that moment define you or you can define the moment.  According to statistics I should be living on welfare and in complete poverty, although I am pretty broke I am doing well.  Being a single mother without a college degree should be a very scary situation. It was the one that they would try and scare us with in school. Obviously, for me, it became reality.  So my goals are this: I am going to go back to school. I will get my degree.  When I do, I am going to be even more spectacular than I am right now. 

One day I want to look back on this blog and see the things that I wanted to accomplish, I want to see what I planned for my life, I want to be reminded of my dreams.  I hope that at that point in time I will have achieved a few of them.  We all have circumstances that are less than ideal.  We need to use them in our favor.  I want a new opportunity.  I want to wake up someplace completely different and yet beautiful.  I tend to write my blog entries from my living room couch and occasionally gazing out the window.  Right now there is a glorious thunderstorm brewing in the background.  That kind of stuff gets my creative juices flowing.  One day I want to look out my window and instead of seeing trees and wooded areas I want to see the ocean.  I want to hear the waves pounding the shore.  I want to smell the salt floating in the air.  That is another dream. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Turbofire day 2: feeling good

Today marks two days into the 20 week turbofire challenge!  I just finished up the second workout of the week. Turbo Fire 30 class.  It is probably one of the easier classes in the system that I have done.  It's definitely the shortest...I think. Man I felt everything though. My heart is racing!  In a good way though.  My lung are on fire and all.  It is such a nice feeling to exercise. It is an acquired feeling though.  You don't like it all the time, I think you learn to love it though.  I have no clue how to use my heart rate monitor though...oh well.  I can't tell how many calories I have burnt but I can see my heart rate and the recovery score. Which I'll just be's a 6. I'm not sure the scale they use but I know it tells me that I am at a "poor" score right now. It's ok, I'll improve! 

It has been 7 full days since I last had a soda.  I feel so much better. I haven't really craved one either.  I have been drinking at least 70 oz of water a day and I'll have a glass of milk or tea as well.  Overall I think I am doing much better on that front. 

I am a work in progress.  I am so glad that some of you are along to see my journey.  I have done this before, but it wasn't the right way. It was a quick fix to a long term problem.  This time I am doing it right. This is going to be my new life.  I can't wait to show you everything that I am going to accomplish. 

This weekend I am climbing my mountain again. tomorrow is a rest day I believe, so I am just going to go for a walk.  That seems easy enough.  If you have any questions on how I am doing this please comment, shoot me an email, message me on facebook...I'm around.

Lets do this together


Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Journey of a lifetime starts with one small step

Beginning on Monday, I am joining my very first challenge group.  I am pretty excited about it.  Looking at myself in the mirror is soon going to be something I am not afraid of! That thought alone is simply enough to help me get by.  Just the knowledge that I am going to be doing something, and I'm not going to be doing it alone makes me extremely happy.

In other news, I have not had a soda all year!  Now I know that we are only four days in...but hey small steps climb mountains.  I am feeling so optimistic about this year and I hope it is contagious. 
To begin my journey I am going to be doing the BeachBody program: TurboFire.  It is a kick ass workout that gets you so energized.  I have an entire 20 week schedule that I intend to finish all the way through!  As for a meal plan, I just really intend to cut out a lot of the crap.  I figure the only way this lifestyle change is going to stick is if I keep it as real as possible.  The goal is to get and remain as healthy as I can. Therefore I am not going to lie to myself and say I am going to eat correctly all the time.  My goal is 80/20. 

Have you ever really stopped to think about death?  Lately I have, whether it be by something I have seen on tv or read in a book, I can't get it out of my mind.  The thought of me doing something that could result in my untimely death is sickening.  That is  why this is so important to me.  That is why my fitness and health is going to be one of my top priorities this year. Now I am aware that every single year every person in America makes the resolution of losing weight or getting healthy.  If you don't believe that I will stick with it then I invite you to stick around.  I intend to lose 50 lbs this year, maybe more.  If I don't then I will gift three lucky people a months supply of Shakeology.  The only thing to qualify is you must follow me on social media.  You can start with this  blog.

So follow me along on my journey, if I fail it could be your gain.  Tell your friends.  Get them to follow me as well.  Hold me accountable. The more people that follow along the more I will raise the stakes.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 part deaux

Happy 2014!  It is the first day of the new year.  As you saw with my last entry, so much has happened.  There really aren't many words left to explain the I have included some pictures that will help me along the way. They are not in chronological order

To end a year of much effort at work, we have a fun little party for the BEST you can see...we played lots of fun games.  Just so you know, I did get it in my mouth.

After the party we went to lunch.  This girl has quickly became one of my really good friends.  She is one of the people who saved me from myself.  I owe her a lot. 

This year I turned 25! Hooray for cheaper car insurance!!! These are my party peeps :)

This is at Haydens 4th birthday party. 

(Above) My Aunt Dianne. (Below) my Neighbor Emma. We lost these two wonderful women in 2013, Less than 3 months apart no less.  Their absence has been felt far wide. Not a day goes by that I don't think of one of them. Treasure people in your is far to short to take for granted.  Tell people you love them, show them you care...remember them always.

This year was a very trying year in friendships for me.  There comes a point where you cut ties with those you never thought you would.  Now this isn't a "pity me" comment or anything, I am just telling you how it is.  You grow apart from people. Things happen and even the best of friends become strangers. it is a way of life.  No one is immune.  Do I hold any ill feelings? Not anymore. I am the type who loves unconditionally.  I wish those who aren't in my life anymore the best.  I hope they have great things in store for themselves.  Life goes on.

Little Rock had it's first ever Gay Pride Parade!!!  This is a picture of me and my sister while attending!  I credit her for my open mind.  If it wasn't for her I think this family would have caved to the southern republican ways.  She didn't know she created a crazy liberal monster...well...she knows now :)

I have worked with amazing people over this year.  I can't post pictures of them all but I have amazing co-workers.  They have really helped me find myself this year. I became a stronger woman because of their influence. 

This year, I not only moved mountains, I climbed them. Like I said, 2013 held a lot of personal growth for me. It was about being comfortable in my skin, loving myself, finding myself. It isn't the tallest mountain but you feel amazing at the top.  There is something so magical about the sweat, possible blood, and the aching muscles that you have when you reach the top.  That is MY mountain, I will become even better acquainted with it this year.  So be prepared...I am going to take a picture at the top ever single month.

I found I had a hobby that I never knew I possessed.  I love painting.  Turns out, I'm somewhat decent at it as well.  I never thought I could.  You put yourself into a box of what you can and can't do, and it limits your knowledge of yourself.  I always thought I was the "unartistic" friend.  I had no niche.  My other friends were the painters, photographers, marathon runners...but I had nothing.  This past year, I found out that we can share hats. You never know what you are capable of until you try.  You also never know what you will like until you attempt it. Well..the marathon runners still can have their hat for now.  But In 2015 I'm coming after it!

In conclusion 2013 was the most difficult, most painful, but surprisingly most rewarding year I have had so far.  I have had so many personal triumphs that cannot be overlooked.  I have broken down the walls of my usual comfort zone.  I discovered the woman that was blocked by toxic people.  I am pretty darn snazzy if I do say so myself.
I know this blog was even less put together than previous ones...but so was this year.  Life doesn't go in the order you originally plan for it.  It doesn't always make sense. You just have to go with the flow.  Write it down when you can, take pictures every chance you get, and don't forget to smile.
I love you all. I hope you stick around to see what happens with life in 2014.