Pause. Breathe. Let go.

I don’t know about you, but for me I feel like I’m moving so fast through life that sometimes I wake up and wonder how I got where I am today. Is it already Spring? Already April?! What happened and where have I been?

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How did I get here? Some days I just run. I enjoy moving so much that I’m running not only a half but also a full marathon this year. Not just physically moving, but also the soreness that comes afterwards helps me feel alive. I feel like I’ve been propelled into this life I’m now living. A life full of joy and happiness. Sometimes, in the midst of the movement and exhaustion, I find myself slipping back into my old habits. I have a big heart full of love and emotion. For many years, I had a person to pour that love into. And I was under the impression they felt the same.

While I’m healing and getting better, there is still a part of me that fears being alone. Something I’ve always struggled with. But now I’m older and more mature. And I know that I have to be comfortable being alone and love myself completely before I can even consider the possibility of letting a new person into my life. So I have to force myself to sit down and be okay hanging out with just myself (and maybe Barley and the cats can hang with me too haha). I have to be okay with going days without talking to people. An extrovert’s nightmare, but I have to be okay with being introverted sometimes too.

For those who don’t know, I grew up very introverted. Over the past several years, I’ve gradually become more and more extroverted through my multiple jobs and passions in life. I feel like this isn’t a very uncommon thing, especially since this world we live in expects people to be extroverted. But as I’ve been going through this journey to being extroverted, I sometimes feel overwhelmed and I can feel my true introverted self screaming on the inside. So I have to pause, breathe, and let go of my fears.

This year will be the year that I work on myself first and foremost. With the help of God and my faith, I have big plans for this year. More to come soon. Love all of you. 🙂

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Love of Self

You are the most beautiful you
This couldn’t be more true
The best love is self love
Released from your past like a dove

Don’t let anyone else determine your worth
You’re an integral part of this planet Earth
At the end of the day
There’s only you to make way

There’s strength in being alone
Experiences help sharpen you like whetstone
You may feel like you’re barely surviving
But over time you’ll find yourself thriving

What you’re going through may seem tough
Keep in mind you’re more than good enough
Your inner beauty is what truly shows
So let it bloom like a beautiful rose

And while you may have imagined a red rose, a purple rose is what I meant: royalty, success & refinement

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Symptom and a cure

It’s only been a few days since I’ve moved but I already feel at home. My condo is a war zone, full of boxes and way too many things (downsizing is fun), but I’m going through all my stuff and getting rid of whatever doesn’t fit. Anyone want a rug?

These last few days I’ve been so happy to finally be in my own place, my new home, that I find it hard to remember the last several months of my life when I felt trapped in Niles, in a house way too big for me. Even with the animals, I felt like I was drowning in that house. It was a three bedroom two bathroom nightmare for a single fur-baby mom like me. So when I closed on my condo this past Monday, I was relieved to leave that monstrous house behind me and move into a more modest two bedroom condo.

Not just less to take care of, but also an ideal location for me and my life. I’m so close to the city: I walk three blocks to the train and the train ride is 20 min then I’m downtown. Or I could grab my car and be in the suburbs quickly. And I’m so close to my church and my people. There are still a good amount of people that need to move to Oak Park, but that’s a work in progress. 😉

While the animals are confused and still adjusting, Barley is enjoying the walks as opposed to the old yard. The sights and smells! Also, we have many dog neighbors! He will be making new friends this summer. 🙂

Couldn’t have imagined it going any better, and to say I’m happy is an understatement. I’m home. I’m where I belong. And here’s to new beginnings…

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Immerse yourself

I want to apologize for the previous post, there was a bottle of wine involved with that one, and some anger. I have actually been meditating and praying the past few days and have found a new peace within me. I’ve let go of the anger and hurt that was holding me back. In 3 days, I move to my new world. And I’m going to immerse myself into this new world. Oak Park holds so much potential for me and my life right now and in the near future.

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Not only is Oak Park one of the cutest suburbs of Chicago, it is also conveniently super close to Chicago and has both the Metra and CTA trains run through it. I’ve always loved it from back in undergrad when I had some friends from around the area. I fell more in love with the suburb recently when I found a church through a co-worker of mine that has made me feel completely welcomed. And now I’m not only part of the worship team (violin playing) but also going to be leading the Chicago Marathon training for our church’s team that’s running for World Vision. Fitness, faith, and fellowship. I can’t wait to share my knowledge with my church family and help them achieve their goal of completing the 2017 Chicago Marathon.

26.2 miles. Insane. But with God, anything is possible. 🙂 Also, maybe I’ll up it to 29 miles…

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In addition to all the good things going on at my church, I’m also beginning to consider working part-time as a personal trainer at a gym in Oak Park. I haven’t fully decided on this yet, but have been praying about it. Until I decide,  I will continue to train out of Snap Fitness in Glenview.

I’m also considering the possibility of going back to school in the fall. I have some dreams and passions I’d like to pursue, and school may or may not help me achieve them. Over the next few months, I’ll be doing research and networking in order to determine if another degree is the right decision or not. Also, a lot of praying since if I do go back to school then that means I have to quit something in my current life in order to have enough time and energy to focus on school. And I don’t quit things easily nor often in life, so that will be a major life change indeed.

On a lighter note, I look forward to spending my summer in Oak Park and the city. City life is one I love, especially in the summer. I have a few concerts and events lined up for the summer. What do you look forward to the most in the summer? What’s your favorite thing to do in Chicago?

Ramblings from an ENFJ

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So I took a personality test recently and my result was ENFJ. Normally I don’t believe this kind of stuff, but actually it’s spot on. If you know me, look it up here and you’ll be reading all about me. Other ENFJ’s? Obama, Oprah, and Jennifer Lawrence. To say I’m destined for greatness would be an understatement. I’m not saying I’ll be famous or even successful, just that I’m crazy and have big dreams and passions in life. I’ve always been this way, but unfortunately kind of lost my way when with my ex-husband. He would deny my dreams and tell me to not think that way. Now that I’m free of his terribleness, I’m free to pursue my dreams and passions in life. I feel set free. Don’t mind my murmurings

I’ve been on a roller coaster over the last few months of my life, I’ve experienced every emotion from extreme sadness and anger to extreme happiness and what I thought could be love. I realize now it was all a part of this healing process that I’m still experiencing. Bear with me please, it’s been a rough year and a half. Losing my mom was when this pain that I can’t describe started. For those who don’t know, my mom was my best friend. We would talk multiple times a day. If a day passed where we didn’t talk then I knew there was something wrong (maybe she was mad at me!). She died suddenly in December of 2015. I say suddenly, but she fought the good fight against cancer for many years and we knew the end was coming, we were just in denial of how quickly she would go. I was hoping against all hope, and praying constantly that she would heal and recover and be my old spunky mom again. Instead, God took her home at a way too young age of 58. There isn’t a day that passes that I don’t think of her. She is and was the best mom on the planet. I am a little biased though.

And her passing away was just the beginning. Two months later, my dad meets a woman and starts dating her. Two months after that, they get engaged. Five months after getting engaged, they get married on the other side of the world despite everyone in the family telling my dad to wait a little longer. Married within 9 months of my mom’s death, to a complete stranger (in my opinion). Out of all of this, I start therapy to deal with my grief over losing my mom and my anger at my dad. I trust my husband to be there for me, but instead he pulls away over time and starts sleeping around with multiple girls. I trust him up until the day he leaves the house and doesn’t come back. Then everything is made clear to me: all the lies of where he was going, and who he was fucking. There was a night I was laying in my bed – in “our” bed – and I had a panic attack. Not only the thought of “Do I have an STD?” crossed my mind, but also, why did he do this to me? What did I do to deserve this? All I did was trust and love him. And he took advantage of me.

And on top of it all, with his best friend’s sister (well that was one of them). Someone I thought was my friend. Some “friend.” Well, I’ve come a long way from that night. And even that night, as I was panicking I was apologizing profusely to God and I heard God speak to me in the midst of my panic, He said “Calm down, Jen. I have someone better for you.” Instantly I calmed down. And I’ve been healing since (STD free BTW in case you were wondering). With the new year, came the new boys. But recently I discovered that while the attention was great and I thought I was happy, it was just a bandaid. I’m still recovering. And I’m no where near getting into another relationship. So, I’ve decided to be single for awhile, a long while. And to work on myself. I want to love myself for me, and I want to grow in the Lord as I move to Oak Park and become more involved with my church.

Which as I run and help lead the Marathon training through my church and World Vision, I think I will grow in the church in addition to my fitness and relationship with God. Yes I am insane, but this is me. Take it or leave it. Until next time.

A bittersweet March

Tomorrow is March 1st, the beginning of a new month in the new year. It’s also the beginning of Lent. My heart quickens a bit as it’s also the court date for my divorce.

Divorce is an ugly word, and it brings a pot full of mixed emotions when I think of it. I never thought I would go through a divorce, and sometimes I still wake up thinking it’s all just a bad dream. But it isn’t. My husband left in October 2016 and never came back. There were many moments and days where I cried and prayed he would come back. And now, for the most part, I wouldn’t mind never seeing him again. I say that, but the truth is much more complex than that. Isn’t it always?

There’s a song by Gwen Stefani that comes to mind where she says:

I don’t know why I cry
But I think it’s ’cause I remembered for the first time
Since I hated you
That I used to love you

And she’s singing about her ex-husband Gavin at the time. I feel like I can completely relate to this, but that I don’t feel exactly the same way. I can’t say I used to love Vince because I still love him. I know this sounds insane, but I chose to love him unconditionally and I took a vow with him. While this vow has been broken and we are both moving on with our lives, I don’t see myself ever not caring about the man that I was with for 7 years of my life. The love I have for him has changed, obviously. I will never be able to trust him again, and therefore I could never be in love with him like I was before. But he will always and forever have a special place in my heart, despite everything he said and did to me. And despite it all, I wish him only the best in his life. I hope he finds true happiness.

Forever and always. Goodbye Vince.

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Self Evolve – Work in Progress

I’m proud to announce that my personal training business is up and running. I call it a personal training business, but have so much more to offer through it. In addition to personal training, I offer: group classes, generalized diet planning, and life coaching. I also have a vision for this company to be more than just fitness based. Within the next few months, I plan on starting up a podcast that will focus on stories from my life in order to encourage and motivate others. If the podcast does well, I plan on bringing in other people who have been influential to my life and my story. So while my business is officially official, it is still a work in progress. And I think it always will be, hence the name Self Evolve. I will and am always evolving and adapting into the Jen I’m meant to be.

This is me. Take it or leave it. And thank you to those who believe in me, you’ve helped me get where I am and you continue to help me move forward, one step at a time. Please check out my multiple presences throughout the world wide web:

http://selfevolve.co/

https://twitter.com/selfevolveco

https://www.facebook.com/selfevolveco/

https://www.instagram.com/selfevolveco/

https://www.linkedin.com/company/16197196

And a few photos:

The logo is still being worked on but should be coming out within the next 2-3 weeks. Stay tuned. 🙂

 

So about that boy…

Just when I wasn’t looking, and wasn’t even sure I was ready to date, a boy showed up in my life. But first, some background.

I started this year out with a bang. I went out for new year’s eve, got drunk, and made out with a stranger. I ended up giving that stranger my number and leaving before getting into too much trouble. Stranger texted me the next day and I somehow (?) remembered his name. We met for lunch and actually hit it off. He wasn’t creepy, and was actually kinda cute. Also, interesting. He asked me to a 2nd date (or meeting) and at first I wasn’t sure, but a few hours later texted him in agreement. We met up that 2nd time, and I thought it went well but apparently he didn’t agree. I texted him in regards to a 3rd date, and at first he seemed to be interested, but over that week he stopped texting me. I texted him to confirm our plans and he acted flaky, and then finally cancelled our plans the day of. I never responded after that.

After that, I was glad to be rid of someone who couldn’t be honest with me. And I decided to take a 3 week break from social media. What didn’t count as social media? Dating apps. I discovered Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, and eventually a free Christian dating app. Through Bumble, I met guy #2 for the year. He was very attractive and we instantly had great chemistry. He had an interesting allure to him but kept most of his life a secret from me. I respected that, and didn’t pry into his life. Over time, he did open up a little bit to me, and I discovered that he wasn’t looking for anything serious. But neither was I, or so I thought. I decided to just date him and see where things went. Until I met the third guy.

Guy #3 messaged me over that Christian app I mentioned. Of course, at first, I was weary. There are a lot of people out there who say they’re Christian but really aren’t (they are just looking to get in my pants like any other guy). But I gave him a shot and we talked on the phone. The first phone call was weird. We connected instantly and it felt like I had talked to this guy before. We talked again the next day, and against all better judgment I re-arranged my schedule to meet him right before my trip to South Carolina. I didn’t want to wait a week to meet him, even though this meant I met both guys within a week of each other.

When I met this guy, it just confirmed what I felt on the phone. We connected so well, and the nervous butterflies were fleeing. We talked the entire evening, and I left with a smile on my face. But also torn, since I liked two guys but for totally different reasons. This new guy was beyond anyone I imagined meeting. I had almost given up on the idea of actually meeting my Mr. Right. Even though I had been praying to God about it, I was worn out after going through the divorce (which was still going on) and having my heart crushed after loving someone for so long who destroyed my trust. Guy #3 turned my world upside down. And then I left for South Carolina.

While away, I tried my best to get rid of guy #2, but his charm kept me interested. And I was distracted by the training, the people, and the fun I had in South Carolina to really focus on the fact that I was texting two guys in Chicago who were crazy for me. I also (not so secretly) really enjoyed the attention. It was like I was finally released from my tower that I was trapped in for years. I came back to Chicago on a Friday night, went on a date with guy #2 Friday then guy #3 Saturday. On Sunday morning, guy #3 came to my church with me. He far exceeded my expectations when he purposefully went over to my pastor and talked to him. They instantly connected and it was amazing to witness that.

That was when I knew. I called up guy #2 on Sunday afternoon and dumped him. I couldn’t continue on dating both (and had been honest with both that I was dating another). The break up went well and the guy was happy for me that I found what I was looking for. I also decided that I wanted guy #3 to be my boyfriend. Which is crazy, I’ve never wanted to go this fast before ever, with any other guy I’ve ever dated.

But Grey isn’t like any other guy I’ve ever dated. He likely is an alien from another galaxy, I think maybe the same galaxy where Gwen Stefani is from. He has met all my deal breakers, and has gone above and beyond my expectations. He’s mature, honest, smart, handsome, funny, and a really great listener. His stories amaze me, and he keeps me interested. When we’re together, we lose track of time in the best way possible. We’re like two peas in a pod, and I look forward to getting to know him better over time.

In addition to being an amazing person, he also is a gentleman: opens doors for me, gives me flowers, and writes some of the sweetest things I’ve ever read. I don’t know what I did to deserve such a sweet guy, but I know I’m not letting go of this one. 🙂

 

 

City lights

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I got lost in your eyes
Through them I see the blue sky
Chicago was my first love
Yet somehow you’ve risen above

I’ve never seen the city lights
Quite like this before
They’re a wonderful sight
Here on this beautiful lake shore

Despite this wintry cold
I feel we’re in Jesus’ stronghold
He lets His love unfold
All over us, surrounded by gold

God has us in His loving hands
He is guiding us through His plans
The goodness He has in store
Brings peace and joy to my core

You far exceed my expectations

…And I’m divorced

Tremble

That was unexpected.

But onto the more important topic: everything that has come from this newfound freedom I’ve come into.

Since realizing my marriage was over, I have had a lot more time to discover myself and what I love in life. I’ve become a certified personal trainer, joined a band, and have lost about 20 pounds. I’ve never been in better health in my entire life. For the first time in 30 years, I completely love God and myself. I am the happiest I’ve been in years. And I look forward to my exciting future. I know God has a plan for me and my life, and I’m trying my best to follow Him.

I started attending a wonderful Christian Church last fall and I’ve fallen in love with the people and the area. I’m buying a condo in the area and will be moving as soon as we close on the house in Niles, which will be in March. In addition to the church, I absolutely love the area and always have. I’ve just never lived in the area since it never really was an option for me to until now. I’m looking forward to starting my new life in a brand new area. 🙂

I also joined the church’s band recently, I will be playing my violin in the midst of electric and acoustic guitars, bass, and drums. Literally a rockstar for God. 😉 In addition to this, I am going to try my hand at writing/creating music and possibly professionally recording myself sometime this year. This is just an idea at this point, and I plan on exploring it further after I move and settle into my new life a little more.

Through my continued Kung Fu training, half-marathon training, and my personal training I’ve been exercising about 5-6 times a week, which is more than I have ever worked out before. It’s getting to the point that I’m addicted to working out. It has helped me relieve stress and clear my mind. In April, I’m going to Orlando to run the Star Wars Dark Side half marathon with my running partner Sarah. 🙂

 

Star Wars Half Marathon  - Dark Side

 

In addition to being a personal trainer at Snap Fitness in Glenview, I am also offering personal training through my Kung Fu school in the Ravenswood area of Chicago. I’m also creating my own personal training business which is called Self Evolve. I’m currently working on the logo and website, which will be going public within the next month or so. Once it’s public, I will write a blog post in regards to the business and the idea behind it.

My day job in IT sales is also going well. I’m currently working towards building my customer database and working towards the potential of being promoted this year of 2017 as well. I enjoy the job despite it not quite being my dream job; the company and the people I work with are wonderful. I look forward to my future at the company and in sales. 🙂

I’ve learned a lot of life lessons over the past several months, but through them I’ve been growing into the person I’m supposed to be. Everyday I wake up praising God and I end my day in quiet prayer with Him. My friendships and relationships have also been growing and improving recently. Oh and there’s a new boy, but that’s for next time. I look forward to my bright future. 🙂