Five Years

A lot can happen in 5 years.

I mean, a lot can happen in any about of time, but 5 years seems like a significant amount of time, ya know? Don't so many parents have those moments like, "How in the world do I have a FIVE year old?!"

Anywho... in my life the last 5 years have been full. Very, very full.

Five years ago yesterday, I left for Honduras.

I had just left my awesome job, ended a whirlwind couple of months of travel to visit all my family and friends that I wouldn't see for over a year, and then hopped on a plane to a place I had never been to follow the Lord's call to serve. Him. The children. The poor.

While there, I had some of the best experiences of my life, and some of the toughest. Being there was harder than I ever thought- emotionally, spiritually and mentally (maybe physically if you count all the times I was sick and such!). Not because of the service I was doing. Not because I had to deal with cold water and roaches. And not even because some of the things that I saw were just heartbreaking.

It was because I was broken, and I didn't realize how much. The wounds- they were deep.

I was stripped away from all that I knew... new place, new people, new job, new language, new everything. And this stripping of all that kept my world together (friends, family, familiarity, etc), forced my wounds to surface and come to the forefront of all that I was doing. At the time, I just thought I was overwhelmed with being in Honduras. That I couldn't handle being there. That I wasn't tough enough be there in this situation that I clearly felt the Lord calling me to do.

It was a lot.

And I made the excruciating decision to leave. In the middle of my year commitment. It was a very tough pill for me to swallow. And look at my fellow volunteers in the eyes. I was sad. I was upset to be abandoning them. And the children. But, I just knew that I had to get home. And work on myself. To figure out what was going on. To heal.

I've heard many people say that you shouldn't do mission or service work if you aren't mentally "okay" for many of the reasons that I have listed above. I get that. I get that on a practical level because you can't be your best for others if you are dealing with your own stuff. But, see, it's precisely because of Honduras and my mission work that I realized how broken I was. I didn't plan on it. I didn't do it maliciously. It can't be a blanket statement for all people... no one would take the leap to do the mission work that the Lord needs to be done. The way He works is mysterious and doesn't always make sense to us on the outside. And it's taken me a while to not be ashamed of the fact that I did have to leave. I did, and it's part of my story. And I still wish many times that I could have done it differently. But, that's not how my life unfolded.

That moment of getting on the plane to Honduras 5 years ago to serve, deciding to leave 9 months later, was just the beginning of the crazy awesome. I:

  • Became a Godmother
  • Moved to Southwest FL
  • Became a school nurse
  • Started a young adult group at my parish
  • Began therapy
  • Met some amazing people
  • Traveled to some beautiful places
  • Got my "dream" job at my old hospital
  • Moved back to DC
  • Lived with my grandparents
  • Bought my first home
  • Healed
  • And continue to heal
Therapy has been the biggest thread throughout the last few years. I talked about things that I never knew I could talk about. I learned things about myself that I didn't realize. My wounds were ripped open. I was forced to see myself as a beautiful daughter of the Lord and how much that can play into how I view life. I have healed in so many beautiful ways, yet still healing in others.

I hope to share some more specifics of my healing and the realizations that have come from it at some point. But for now... reflecting on the last 5 years of my life, and seeing the beauty within it (when I don't always remember feeling the beauty at the time) has been good. I am no longer ashamed of many aspects of my life.

That is a beautiful and refreshing thing.

Shame is a nasty chain that holds on for a veryveryvery long time. It sneaks up at moments that you don't expect. The devil likes it that way. Shame prevents you from being completely you, being open to others, allowing the love of the Lord to seep in and change you.

I pray that if you are holding on to shame from your past that you figure out how to let it go. Give it to the Lord. He wants to spare you from it. He wants to love you deeply. If it's really deep and you are really struggling, please consider talking to someone. Therapy has changed my life. And there is definitely no shame in that. :)

The life that I am living is nothing like I hoped. I would be married and have multiple kids by now, yet this is the life that I am living. Right here. Right now. I am doing my best to let that be enough. That the Lord's will for me right now, is this life. Today. And that is enough.

Please, Lord. Let this life be enough. I want this life, and you, to be enough.

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How about an OCM update?!

Well, it's October 1st.

October. First.


I could write about Fall, and all the things. Pumpkin. Cozy sweaters. SCARVES!

It's also my patron's feast day. Happy feast day, St. Therese!!! Pray for us! I should probably write about her beautiful doctrine and all the awesomeness that she is.

Instead... I bring you an OCM update. Why? Well, why not?

I haven't written about it in, ohhhh... a year and a half. I figured now is as good a time as any to provide a little update!

Here are all my related OCM posts:
My Oil Cleansing Method Experience + the Clarisonic Mia 2
An Oil Cleansing Method Update
No Makeup, huh?!

What's better than before and after, er, now pictures?!

Annnnnnd TODAY!

October 2016
This is seriously amazing! :) I love doing this... it gives me such a great perspective on how much my face has improved. I see it everyday, so, of course, I am my own worst critic. I see everything. But, this!


Right cheek.

So exciting!!! No Makeup.
Also. Crazy long hair.
Guys. I am comfortable running errands, going to work, going out, etc WITH NO MAKEUP. I don't constantly think about what people may possibly me thinking when they look at my face. Gosh, I don't know if I ever thought I'd ever be comfortable in my skin. 

I am TOTALLY comfortable in my skin. Ah! PTL!

What am I doing, you ask?! THE SAME THING!

The Oil Cleansing Method with coconut oil. Interestingly, I have NOT used the Clarisonic in over a year. I can't really tell you why I stopped. But, I did... and for right now I am ok with not using it.

My method continues to be this...
  • Take my eye makeup off and brush my teeth
  • Scoop some coconut oil into my hand (maybe a nickel size) with a 
  • Rub the oil alllll over my face and jaw line
  • Wipe off with hot wash cloth (as hot as you can stand it)
  • May take a few times to get all the oil, makeup, etc off
  • Rinse out washcloth
  • Splash some water on my face
  • Pat dry with towel
  • Go to bed
  • Wipe face with hot washcloth
  • Take a leeeeetle bit of coconut oil and rub on face as moisturizer

Really. It's that easy.

I say this all the time but I will say it again. Please take the time to see which types of oils work for you. You may need a combo. You may need something completely different than coconut. Your skin may react differently to certain oils than others. Take the time to find what will work for you. :)

For me. I loooooooove me some coconut oil. :) :)

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I love my momma.

I told myself I would write something today.

It's been a while. I miss this space. I miss this time of reflection. I have been teeeeerrrrrrrible about self care for the better part of this last year. And this writing. I think it will help. I am out of practice. I am getting distracted. Do I really have anything worth saying?

Who cares? I am here. Writing. And it feels good.

So... my mom went back home last night. She was here for 10 days. TEN DAYS!

It was the longest we had spent together for a long time... it was both a long and very quick trip.

There is so much that I could talk about. From the house drama that she dove head first into. To me still having to work and not actually seeing her very much. To the enjoyment we both had just being around each other again.

We both miss that. More on some days than others.

But, what struck me most about this time with my momma... is her absolute love for me. I mean, for real. Her flexibility and sacrifice of doing things she wanted or what she preferred... all for me. All while I am freaking out about the next house thing, or stressing about work stuff, or sharing some things that are difficult to share.

It's really something that I take for granted... ya know? A mother's love. Her willingness to sacrifice and do all the things... just for her kid. I know my momma loves me. I know she wants to do these things for me. But, it just seems so one sided.

How can I ever really, truly make it known to her that I do notice. That I do appreciate all the things. That my life wouldn't be as full without her love and sacrifice.

This isn't to say that we never get on each others' nerves. Agree on everything. Words hurt sometimes, ya know? We have both felt them over the years. As much as we would maybe not like to admit, we are very similar in many ways. We tend to take things personally, are emotional about many things and need time to process when we are feeling hurt or aren't seeing where the other is coming from. As we both have gotten older, we have learned -through some tears, some yelling, some silence- how to talk with more love. Reminders to not take things personally. Apologies. And hugs.

Those hugs are ever important now that we don't see each other on the regular anymore. Physical touch with people that you are closest with is so important, ya know? Hugs can do wonders.

I am just so grateful to my momma. For her love. For her words of wisdom and advice. Even when I don't feel like hearing it OR feel like it fully applies to me life. :) For her hugs. For her silliness. For her desire to want her kid to be living her to the fullest.

I love you, Mom. Thank you for being you. And hanging out. And making me buy all the things for my place to make it my home. ;)

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Living Room Help!

Hi Guys!

So... there are just too many choices to design a space. I mean, obviously. I watch HGTV, so I get it. But, when it's YOU that has to make the decision it can be overwhelming. This does not come naturally to me. I just want to be done and have my home feel like home.

But, such is life. I don't have an unlimited budget (what?! I know.) and am not a DIYer. I have succumbed to the fact that I maaaaaaay have to do some DIY things. But, it intimidates me. I need to look for the good thrift stores in my area, still.

But, Jen, what is your style?! I DON'T KNOW! That is such a big question! But, here is what I have been really drawn to...

  • Midcentury modern... tapered legs give me all the heart eyes.
  • Bohemian textures/colors
  • Mixed materials- wood/metal is the bomb
  • So, eclectic. That's me.
  • West Elm. If I could buy ALL the things, I'd be set.
The issue with the MCM/Boho look is that it's very minimalistic. I have a problem with clutter. And right now, I have stuff everywhere still. Boxes. Stuff with no home. Things I don't even know what I am going to do with. I know that the big stuff will settle overtime. But, in a general sense, I do have a hard time throwing stuff away. *eye roll* I knoooooow.

For the MCM/Boho look to work well, I need to learn how to control allll that. That should be another post with advice.

Living room! That's what I need advice for right now! Help!

So, the space is... interesting. It's open to the dining area. But is also long and kind of narrow. To figure out where the TV should go that works with the couch and chair. Ugh.

Inspection Day

After move-in and for about a month I lived like this.

And this is what it's been for almost another month!
Obsessed with my IKEA Chair!!
West Elm Peggy Couch
I just rearranged because it just didn't feel right. I am not convinced the below design is best. But, I am going to live with it like this for a bit. In pictures it actually looks nice, but in real life it feels weird still. But, that could be because it's new.

The kitchen is behind me to the left (enclosed)
The dining area is to the right, behind... open.

Side table is from World Market

Just to give you a better idea of the flow of the entire space.
This was before I moved the living furniture, obviously.
And I don't have the placemats out like that.
West Elm dining table.
IKEA dining chairs.
Eames chairs from TJMaxx
SOOO! What do you think of the living setup? I would mount the TV on the wall in the corner. And I need a fun area rug! It needs to fill the area, complimentary to the dining rug, more functional than just for the look (technically I should have wall-to-wall carpeting... ask me about that ordeal sometime! #homeownership).

Give me all your ideas!
ALSO! What resources do you LOVE for home design/style?! Especially for a newbie like me!

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A little mouse that broke me


I was eating dinner at my kitchen table...

I am sitting in the chair closest to the camera. There I am, just chomping away... and I see some movement out of the corner of my (left) eye.
Quickly turn.
And there. In all it's glory.

A mouse. A da** mouse.

I just stared at it. Panicking inside. Heart rate high. Stomach sinking.
How do you get rid of the thing WHEN IT'S JUST SITTING THERE!?

I stood up. Took one step.
It scurried under the stove.


What else could I do, but... that's right, CALL MY MOM!

Mom: Hey sweetie
Me: MOM!
Mom: Yeees?
(feeling sorry for me silence, not a "good luck with that" silence... make sense?)
Me: Oh my gosh. Mom! A MOUSE! Uggggggh!
Mom: Yuck! I am so sorry.

She then proceeded to calm me down... a little. I called my associations' maintenance guy, who gave me the number for the exterminator. I went to Home Depot and got some traps.

Texted my dad.
Continued to freak the freak out.
Texted my friends.
Realized that I REALLY can't handle crap like this.

I am not one of those people that just deals with creatures. Rodents or bugs or anything that INVADES MY SPACE.


And I just broke. Why did I think it was a good idea to buy a house? And handle all of this on my own? Who said I was adult enough for this? Why did I decide to live on my own? And just be able to deal with all the stuff that I don't like.

I didn't go to bed until after midnight because I was scared the darn thing was going to find me. No joke. How old am I again?

And here comes the part where this is all just a big metaphor for my life.

Just kidding. I mean, I am absolutely sure there is a very meaningful one. But, I haven't fully found it yet. Nor, do I really want to. It's kind of exhausting having to find meaning and purpose in every.single.crazy.thing that happens in the day/week/year/life, ya know? I can't be the only one.

But, I do know that Satan tried to use this to really, really break me down. To believe things that I know only come from him.

I did buy this awesome condo.
I can do this. Yes, it's hard. Yes, I will do things that I don't want to.
Yes, I will learn a whole lot about things that I can't even imagine.
I am capable of making this place be a place of joy and love and beauty.
This is my life. This is where I'm at.

With da** mouse and all.

No, I haven't caught him. No, I haven't seen him again. Maybe he went away!! Or, maybe he is dead under my stove.

The exterminator comes tomorrow.

Pray for me.

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