Speaker

The shot I didn’t want!

Yesterday I received my first (of two) COVID shots. It was the Phizer one. The shot itself was no big deal. It didn’t hurt, sting or burn going in. No after affects as I waited 15 minutes in a chair 6 feet away from other lucky recipients. But this wasn’t MY plan.

That seems to be how life goes a lot of the time. Our plans don’t pan out. I remember thinking I wanted to see for several months how it went. My plan was to watch and wait. Feeling pretty healthy and at low risk for complications if I did get the vaccine, I wanted to let others go before me. My dad is 84 with a serious heart condition and at risk for a stroke. He’s waiting for his turn to get a life changing procedure. If anyone should be vaccinated in my mind, it was him. My brothers and I have been trying to bubble wrap him to keep him safe so he can get this done.

I remember saying back in April of 2020, I am going to get COVID. I was prepared and wasn’t afraid. And I waited. And waited. Yes I wore my mask, washed my hands and followed all CDC, ABC, and EFG guidelines. We sheltered the first few months and then slowly, when I felt safe and we had more information, ventured out into the world for some social distancing events. We had a daughter who graduated high school during the pandemic and moved to college across country during it.

Having suffered from depression and anxiety on and off in my life, I knew one thing about being an introvert, I can’t stay isolated too long. It’s dangerous for me. Mentally, physically and spiritually. So I prioritized my mental health and did what I needed to do, in the most safe way possible to take care of me. Selfish, yes. But at the cost of others, no. I did my best to follow the rules. (It’s a type A and enneagram 3 kind of thing. #rulefollowers)

I think if COVID has taught us nothing else, it’s that everyone’s needs (emotionally, physically and spiritually) are different. These needs should also be respected. I am not asking anyone else to follow the same path I am, nor do I judge others for the choices they make to take care of themselves. It’s part of what God gives us, free will. Now I don’t think anyone should be reckless with their free will but there are so many long term effects this pandemic is going to have on not just me, but my family and friends.

Being in the mental health field has its advantages during a time like these. I need to practice what I preach and also show compassion for those who are suffering. While some fields are shrinking, the need for mental healthcare is not. It’s hard to hear and see the stories of individuals and families struggling. The blessing of COVID is that seeking help is becoming less taboo and more of a proactive step in creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Which brings me back to why I got the shot yesterday.

I don’t know what all is in the vaccine, if it’s going to work, if it’s safe or if I’m going to have some sort of longterm side effects from getting it. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a scientist. That is not who God made me to be. He gave those gifts and talents to other people. So I chose faith yesterday. Not in other people, but in God. I trust that in order to do the work He has called me to, I need to be around people. And right now, for me, that means a shot. What else I do know is, I am someone who needs to be with my family and friends for support, encouragement and strength. I am someone who is in an office that has people I do not know coming in and out a public door. Many are desperate for help and they need more than a virtual telehealth visit can give. I am running a business that encourages, leads and guides women in their day to day lives and I want to see them face to face this coming spring. Therefore, I will do what I need to so that others feel safe around me. The vaccine isn’t about me. It’s not about what I want right now or giving me comfort. It’s about the gift I might be able to give someone else because I’ve taken a step, that was offered to me for free, to get a vaccine that will prayerfully eradicate this horrible virus.

My choice doesn’t have to be your choice. But we do need to choose compassion and understanding as well as respect for those around us. Last year was hard, this year needs to be full of Galatians 5:22-23.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Living day to day,

Jennifer


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


Stepping out in faith

Most of my audience and work in ministry has been done inside a church or organization with very little external reach. I was totally okay with that. In one sense, it felt safe and I was a bit protected. I cheered others on to leave the walls of ministry and to go out into the world and make a difference. In fact, I LOVED when I could see someone with so much more potential than I had. Now I’m not trying to put myself down but I feel like at 45 years old, I know myself now. I know what God has and hasn’t called me to do. I’ve learned to say “no” when others wanted me to say “yes”. I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not in order to advance or gain position. Ambitious, yes, but I PRAY it is never to the point of sacrificing others or out of pressure to perform.

I realize today a few things I don’t want to give up in this next season of life.

#1 – Writing. I may not be a novelist like my brother, but writing helps remind me of God’s goodness in the little day to day moments in life. Encouraging others is a blessing to me. I hope I can do that in a small way through sharing stories.

#2 – Teaching. I love the word of God and feel like there is so much to learn even after 45 years. I believe every women has influence and we can use that influence in our homes, community and world if we pursue the Lord and follow His will for our lives.

#3 – Speaking. Nothing replaces the intimacy of being together with people. To see someones face, interact and encourage women has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. I will love on you with the word of God.

As I step out in faith, I have found myself in a position I have never been. I am not a self promotor or loud gong. I have never felt the need to do more than the work that was set before me. But I am available in this season to step into new places and walk by faith down a new road. I feel God nudging me to do what I love for His glory. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time. More than anything, I can promise you I will take you through the deep and not just shallow waters. It’s the little moments in life I don’t want you to miss. Let’s do this together! You can find me on Facebook, Youtube and of course here.

Stepping by faith, day to day-

Jennifer