Life without photoshop

The last couple of years have been messy.

2014 brought nothing I would have imagined and plenty of what I would like to forever forget.
As messy as it has been, it has been just as much so filled with grace and growth.

And for the latter, I am grateful.

If I have learned anything in the last 39 short years of my life it’s that life will never be what you expect it to be. People will disappoint, situations will change – yet life itself will be nothing but what you make it to be.

Good, bad, or ugly.

Most people like to show a photo-shopped version of life. A highlight reel of life. But what is usually cut out is the REALNESS. And that REALNESS? It is what truly makes you who are and who you become.

real life lived

It’s not always pretty, but it’s REAL. It’s not always what you think people expect of you and want to see – and a lot of times it’s not – but it’s what makes you YOU.

My tag line has always been real life lived. And the last couple of years? There have been more moments than not that weren’t blog friendly. So blogging? It was put on the back burner.

So many friends have encouraged me to write through this journey. I learned when my brother died, writing helps me to process life. And I have been writing. In journals. I am sure one day the entire story will be shared. But that timing? It’s just not now.

That story is still being written.

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I started blogging in 2005/6 as an outlet. As a way to keep in touch with family when we moved 1000 miles away from them. And overtime, it became a blessing and a great supplement to my income. And fast-forward ….. it was put on the back-burner.

Somewhere between the not-blog-friendly moments and the mental and emotional exhaustion from life – I paused blogging. I didn’t quit. The blog stayed active. I just hit the pause button.

Some seasons in life call for that.

And now? While there are still plenty Daze of Adventure, I have grown to realize I Am Jenn.

Just me. And that is enough.

So this back-to-blogging gig? It’ll be just that.

Me.

Jenn.

The projects. The interests. The work life. The adventures.

The good. The bad. The ugly. And most importantly – the new.

Because, y’all, new is good.

And so is God. All the time.

Holocaust Survivor Inge Auerbacher

I’ve had the honor this week to meet a hero. Dr. Inge Auerbacher. She is a beautiful woman, inside and out, full of spunk – and is a Holocaust survivor.

Holocaust Survivor Inge Auerbacher

She spent three years (between ages 7-10) in the Terezin (Theresienstadt) concentration camp in Czechoslovakia, and was one of only about 1% who survived.

Her life story will leave you in awe. And is a reminder for all of us that when we are given a chance at life, we can overcome anything. We can achieve anything. It is all about what we set our mind to.

Inge suffered in ways that we will never be able to fully grasp. She endured hardship and heartache, but she chose to keep living.

And not only has just “survived” in her 80 short years, but has THRIVED throughout her life – so much so, she went on to earn an honorary doctorate and has published a number of books.

So when each of us face those “hard days” – Inge is a good reminder of what is possible.

Inge didn’t choose a life of revenge for all wrong that was done to her.

Rather, she has lived a life of light – rising above her circumstances and living a life of love and compassion.

She continues today to make a difference in others’ lives.

Especially mine.

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Books about Inge’s life during the Holocaust

I Am a Star: Child of the Holocaust
Children of Terror
Beyond the Yellow Star to America
Finding Dr. Schatz: The Discovery of Streptomycin and A Life it Saved
Beyond the Yellow Star to America

Closing a chapter

9 years ago yesterday, I moved to south Florida.

And today? There has been a moving truck in my driveway.

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Budget Rental Truck

Change can at the same time be hard and exciting. Major change can make your head spin, make your heart ache, and make you second guess everything about your adult life until present day.

I know this.

But you have to walk in faith, knowing The Lord brings good from all. It doesn’t mean that all things were necessarily in His plans for our lives. But that he makes everything beautiful in its time. Everything.

Beauty from ashes, my friends.

So here’s to the next chapter of life.

Here’s to continuing to try to make each day a little better than the day before.

And for having the best family and friends a gal could ever have.

Because, hands down, I do.

Why I am selling almost everything

The last few days? I have had a yard sale.

I have had a stirring for the last few years for less and less stuff. And while I find myself constantly cleaning out and giving away, it has never seemed like enough.

This time? I got serious.

Selling Everything

I cleaned out my mini-storage on Tuesday (which housed things most of you have in an attic) and have been sorting and pricing and selling since.

The “stuff” just sitting around the house? The stuff that serves no purpose in our day-to-day life? The furniture that isn’t required? The eight cutting boards in the kitchen cabinet? That second-extra-just-in-case blender? And the “other” three 12-piece place setting of dishes? They are gone.

This whole process has been pretty overwhelming. More so probably because this is on the heels of me getting home Monday night after driving 8000 miles.

But if anything – that is what pushed me to do it.

And it also reminds me how much “extra” we as Americans think is necessary to exist.

Stuff doesn’t make us happy. If anything, it gives us more to do.

More to clean. More to maintain. More money we have to make so we can continue to afford all of the “stuff.”

I am a big fan of life, y’all. And I want to live out the desires The LORD has put in me. I have dreams. I have goals. And to meet those, I don’t want to allow the “stuff” to hold me back. Because all the stuff? It’s heavy. And the more stuff? The heavier it is.

So to “simplify all of life“? That is my quest. One I have been on for a long while, but one in which I am no longer wading in the water, observing more than participating.

I have jumped full in. Sans life vest.

And without so much stuff?

A lot lighter.