Archive for November, 2020

I Get To…

As we approached the stoplight I could see we weren’t going to make it to turn left.  According to my husband Ryan, we missed it because the people in front were “poking along”.  I looked at him and remembered a phrase my dad used to always tell me as a little girl in the same situation. Out loud I said, “We get to be first!”.  Ryan looked over at me and said, “We do huh?”  Me: “Yes, we get to be first next time” (insert cheesy grin on my face).  Ryan: “We get to”(said a little puzzled but reflective).  This obviously wasn’t the mindset he had or quite frankly I usually have in these situations.  I tend to react just as Ryan did by feeling we missed out.  For whatever reason it never dawned on me until that moment the optimism and lens my dad viewed life.  Instead of seeing missing the light as a missed opportunity, he turned it into a game of sorts and opportunity to be the one who goes first next time.  The heart attitude is drastically different between the two responses.  One is sad while the other is happy.  

I often challenge my leaders and clients to view potential goals, challenges and sometimes mundane tasks as “I get to” opportunities. Think about this with me for a moment.  What would happen to your attitude and heart if you said, “I get to call a leader today to check on them” verses “I have to make a call so I can get that over with?”  I ‘get to‘ offers encouragement to someone who may be feeling overwhelmed. I get to leave an encouraging voicemail for someone who may have only heard discouraging words that day. I get to share some information with someone who may have too busy to pay attention to resources available. Even in the mundane day to day chores it can work. I get to do laundry so I can wear my favorite pants tomorrow. Can you see the differences in outlook?  The way we choose to view our circumstances will impact not only ourselves but those around us. 

With my dad, I always thought going first was the best position to be in. It was much more desired to be first in line verses the last one to make it through the light.  I’m not sure where I lost my enthusiasm for going first but this Christmas season, I want to find it.  I want to view life’s moments as “I get to” and opportunities to “go first”.  Will you join me?

This weeks challenge, take a look around and see who you can get to bless.

Living day to day-

Jennifer


MOSAIC

Twenty years ago my husband Ryan threw out the idea he might want to have his own private practice for counseling one day. As the idea came up over the years we would slightly entertain it but we really weren’t in a place to do something that felt so big and so costly. All we ever heard was it will take 10 years to get a return on your investment. And we didn’t have anything to invest to begin with much less could see 10 years down the road. So, as dreams go, we would talk about it here and there and for the most part push it aside.

There is something about being married to a risk taker that really stretches my “analyze and strategize” mind. Is it just me or does everyone marry someone who when you are dating, their traits seem exciting but once you’re in 20 years they seem unreasonable? No? Just me? It’s like we hit an impasse and neither wanted to budge. I’ve learned though (the hard way) that risk takers can see the culmination of a dream and approach life with less resistance than me. Their fear of failing is less important than never trying.

In 2015, my husband was in need of an LLC to be able to do some additional work to supplement our income. My non-profit work wasn’t as financially rewarding as it was personally but he always supported me and we always felt very blessed for my job and the work I did. It was my dream job and I was content with the life we had. Nonetheless he needed the ability to separate this income and so we established the LLC with the state and on paper birthed Mosaic Counseling and Consulting. It was more consulting than counseling at the time but Ryan knew (and so did I) he wanted options down the road.

Ryan worked in public mental healthcare for 20 years and also taught graduate counseling. He opened and ran a community counseling center at a satellite campus for a university. When the university shut down the campus in the city he worked in, he found himself self-employed full time. I couldn’t see it at the time but having the business set up gave us an opening for him to see clients and his relationship with other professionals provided an opportunity to do work with them in our community. Peers and friends were so gracious to us and have blessed us by giving Ryan the opportunity to see clients at their clinics. They will never know what a blessing both the work and mentorship has meant to us both. It showed grace, love and support when we were struggling financially and in our marriage. In some ways, they were part of the glue that sustained us and helped us stick with it.

Through the last year and a half we have seen God open doors left and right. Mosaic Counseling and Consulting now has six therapists.

While Ryan’s dream has been a lot of work and a little frustration (starting any business with your spouse is!), the return has been a lesson in letting go and letting God do His thing. All the while though, I wondered where did I fit into this business? As co-owner on paper, I really wasn’t involved or understood much of the world Ryan lived in and yet I too found myself a few months ago without a job and in the in between. I wrote my first story on this site about it. You can read it here. One of the last paragraphs I wrote was this one:

“This space I now live in, is the in between. In between what life looks like going from working 40 hours a week to looking for a job. The questions of what now and the white space in my days is both hard and good. You see, I live my life with a core belief that God has a purpose and will for my life. Each day I choose to walk towards that or away from it. Each unexpected twist isn’t anything He didn’t already not know. There is comfort for me in this and also a wrestling of sorts. What’s next?”

https://www.themosaiclifestyle.com/

This week, I got to unveil what is next for me. After months of seeking where God was leading, re-imagining old dreams for myself and feeling called to use what God has given me, The Mosaic Lifestyle launched. I am finding my place in the meaning of the word we chose so long ago. Mosaic. In simplistic terms, mosaic means to arrange small colored pieces into a picture or pattern. It’s the process of taking the pieces of your life and making something beautiful out of it. It’s the opportunity to create a masterpiece. God already said we are His masterpiece, created in His image. Why is it so hard for us to see how all the pieces in our lives fit together? The shattered pieces put together in a mosaic turns something broken into beauty. Not all of the pieces of our lives are broken. Some are a little worn or dull, while others are vibrant and sharp. But it’s the process of creating the mosaic that you see it is all as it should be, a masterpiece.

I’m probably getting a little too lengthy and a little too deep for some but the amazing God who created the sunrise and sunset, the air we breathe and provides all we need just keeps overwhelming me with his goodness.

So now my family has two Mosaics. One which I partner with my husband and the other in which I partner with my friend. Day to Day with Jenn and Ivy Mamma have joined forces to bring you The Mosaic Lifestyle. A lifestyle consulting business. We are taking the years of leadership, organizational management, love for scripture, an appetite for reading and learning and developed a system that you get to use to create your mosaic life. We realize that one book, one system doesn’t fit all. Each of us is an individual, uniquely made. Why would we think our life’s experiences, current activities and future hopes and dreams would be the same? So off I got to write some copy, create some digital images and pray about the next step our business should take. I have learned in my life when I give God all the pieces, (not just the pretty ones) He can do so much more with it than I can ask or imagine. Consider this your invitation to follow us on Instagram, visit our website and register for our first Mosaic Experience in April where we will walk alongside women who need to pull the pieces of their lives together to accomplish all God has for them and they dream to be.

Living day to day-

Jennifer


Shattered Dreams

The words themselves evoke sadness but the story it tells is all but sad. When I was younger I remember looking upon failure as something that would be humiliating and crushing. In our youth we strive to reach the top and avoid the pitfalls along the way. Skip forward 20 years and failure has been my greatest friend and teacher.

Growing up I avoided dreaming big. I didn’t want to be disappointed. I really didn’t see myself as having the ability to do more than get married (God willing) and have kids. (The greatest accomplishment and joys in my life I must say!) But the concept I could pursue personal dreams, have a successful job and make an impact on anyone wasn’t even a thought. If it was a thought, it was quickly squashed by my other thoughts of not being worthy, capable, or enough. I guess you could say I had really low self esteem. Internally I was a ‘woe is me’ girl (which still rears its ugly head). Not only did I not aim high, I just didn’t aim at all. Until.

It’s amazing how powerful we are as human beings. Did you know we have the ability to influence those around us? (read here) It wasn’t until I was in my early 30’s that fact clicked with me. I was the recipient of someone who said ‘have you ever thought about’, and ‘I think you would be good at’, along with ‘I believe in you’. Just a small nudge unleashed a 15 year journey into leadership development and organizational management. I returned to college to finish the degree I started (after having the twins!) and decided the risk of failing was worth not trying at all.

I began dreaming. I think we can all agree that 2020 has knocked the wind out of us at times and slapped us around a bit. Learning to surrender (read here) has been a forced lesson of sorts. For many of you, like me, we lost our jobs (read here) and in the moment of believing we were living our best lives, things didn’t just fail, but shattered. I sat in sadness and disbelief of it all for a while. The process of processing was necessary and painful. Yet through it all, God spoke loud and clear! (He had my undivided attention.) What I thought was lost wasn’t really lost at all but was about to be found. I needed to take some of my own advice (read here) and realized God didn’t give me the gifts, experiences and dreams for one adventure. He expects me to use them even in the midst of shattered dreams. I read this week a quote that explains so well where I am at today.

“Shattered dreams open the door to better dreams, dreams that we do not properly value until the dreams that we improperly value are destroyed. Shattered dreams destroy false expectations, such as the “victorious” Christian life with no real struggle or failure (or the perfect marriage without work). They help us discover true hope. We need the help of shattered dreams to put us in touch with what we most long for, to create a felt appetite for better dreams. And living for the better dreams generates a new, unfamiliar feeling that we eventually recognize as joy. Our pain will always have a purpose. It will not go away, but it will do its work. It will stir an appetite for a higher purpose – the better hope of knowing God well enough now to love him above everything else…and trusting him no matter what happens.”

– Dr. Larry Crabb, Shattered Dreams.

What I once thought might be the greatest contribution in my work life is now replaced by God saying, it was an improperly valued dream. God doesn’t want us to be limited to one adventure. He wants us to dream big again and again. So that is what I’m doing. Dreaming, creating and finding so much joy in the process. I now have hope in my next adventure. I also am acutely aware it could fail. And I’m okay with that because if you don’t try, you will never know what you might have missed out on.

Living day to day-

Jennifer