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September 24, 2009


denise, jonatha, thea ~ down that wooded road

what if your greatest talent,
your very best gift,
the thing that you are best at,
is the way that you show up in love in any given moment of the day?

i want you to know that
if success were measured by how many times you have offered your hand in assistance,
delivered kindness, demonstrated compassion, or inspired hope in another person ~
you would topping the Forbes top ten list.

i know you sometimes feel that because you do not have any specific role to write down on the "what is your occupation" line, or because you haven't a product or an idea to sell,
that somehow, you are average or mediocre. . .

but truth is,
the way that you love,
and the way your heart sees,
is like a symphony of magnificence...

and there is no mediocre in that kind of beauty...


Posted by jen at 11:04 AM   |   link   |   Comments (0)

September 23, 2009

to be. . ...

my classroom, Squam Art Workshops

to be surrounded by the kind of beauty that makes my eyes teary, to never be without the song of the loons, to have a place where i can lay on the forest floor and watch the sky paint endless scenes of color, to be far far away from strip malls and tollways and suburbia, to take breaths of fresh cool air as i search for shooting stars over that holy lake....

to get a few days to be with my friends, the ones who really get me, the ones with whom i dont feel like such a misfit around, the ones who instantly invoke my inner 8 year old and set her free, the ones who understand and share ~ without even saying a word ~ the deep and soulful journey i desire in this life....

to have the opportunity to meet so many new friends...ones ive only known via this internet world, and the ones that upon meeting felt like they had always been a part of my life....

to get to explore my inner artist and not feel dorky or stupid or somehow not capable....

to be amongst the most amazing teachers who provided so much encouragement and support and opened a brand new door of newness for me...and to have classmates who offered the same sort of goodness at the same time....

to have the assistance of such an wonderful staff and volunteers who made everything run so smoothly....

to get to hear Jenny's story, and have it stay with me like an etching on my heart....

to get to see others play and rest and discover and strengthen their own truths.... and to see the gift of gentleness and love wash over their faces....

to be a part of Elizabeth's life ~ the only person i know who could make something this magical actually come true.... (how can i ever ever thank you for how hard you have worked?)

its just some of these things that make me feel like the luckiest person in the world and makes me wish everyone on the planet could have an experience like this, just once.

and if i didnt thank you in person, i want to thank you now. to every single person who showed up, you helped this beauty happen, each one of you provided something to make this all come together just by being there. you all matter so very much and i am so grateful i was able to share this time with you...

Posted by jen at 04:40 PM   |   link   |   

September 11, 2009



8 years ago today, Mari-Rae Sopper was on her way to the University of California at Santa Barbara to begin the job of her dreams ~ the women's gymnastics coach. Mari-Rae was one of those people who created magic and positive changes wherever she went. As she boarded American Airlines Flight 77, I am certain she was filled with excitement and happiness and a billion plans in the making...And I can only imagine how quickly those emotions were shocked into confusion and fear once the terror began.

There are 100 different ways to "explain" why someone dies, and we do what we can to try and make some sense out of these horrible tragedies. But this is one I just don't get, and one that many of us still cant wrap our heads around. Im not sure we ever will.

All I know Mari-Rae,
is that you loved deeply,
and you are deeply loved.
And not even the most horrific evil can touch or destroy that kind of beauty. Ever.

I am thinking of you today Mari-Rae...I am thinking of your amazing family and friends and hoping some sense of comfort and healing and peace can find a place to land in their hearts today.

May we all be reminded to live our days like you did, with gusto, passion, courage, love and compassion...

Posted by jen at 11:02 AM   |   link   |   

September 10, 2009

i prefer beauty.

like no other, michigan

forgive my absence, ive just been collecting loads of beauty these days...

a while back, andrea coached me through an exercise that helped me to define my core values. seems like a thing one should obviously know, right? but this was about the values beyond the basics, and values that are more personalized and detailed.

and throughout my days, my work, my dealings and my decisions,
i refer back to that coaching session again and again.

when i can remember what it is that i love, what truly honors who i am, what really matters ~
i have so much more clarity and assurance..and i end up taking better care of myself.

one of my core values has to do with beauty.

i must continuously find beauty to feed my spirit. and
beauty for me always comes down to nature and momma earth.

when i dont regularly get a dose of the woods, or a country field, or the perfectly tinted ocean ~
i get crabby and i feel like i cant breathe and i just cant do what i need to do. like the person who needs to exercise to keep his mind clear, i NEED beauty to keep me in sync.

this summer has been FILLED with beauty.
from our front porch, to the coasts ive been able to visit, to the walks in our old town,
right down to that wee little wren who sits on the fence and sings away every morn.

and this past weekend it was like i was living Flower Island. everywhere i turned, i saw color and shapes and butterflies and hummingbirds...and everywhere i went i could smell the scent of lilies... (heaven i tell you.)

ive noticed that i have felt really, really, good this summer. more so than others.
and i truly believe it is because i have been focusing on this value more so than i have in a long time.

i just want to encourage you to know what you love, and know what fills you, and to make sure you do what it takes to seek that out. even if its for 5 minutes a day, know it and find it and get some. :)

its important.
you are important.

jen gray

Posted by jen at 10:29 AM   |   link   |   

September 02, 2009

fear and letting go...

jen lemen and the boa....

time and time and time again,
i am learning, that the more control i try to have,
the less i actually do.

and the more i cling,
the more i actually lose grip.

the more i try to fix,
the messier it gets.

this letting go stuff....
it's hard, huh?

when i feel that urgency to step into control mode,
i know that is the very time i need to take a breather,
let the emotions settle,
and find what's really behind it all.

for me, 9 times out of 10, it all comes down to fear.
fear of being hurt, fear of being left, fear of being seen as someone other than i really am, fear of failure, fear of danger, fear of letting somebody down, fear of losing love...

when i can identify that fear, and put a name to it, somehow the charge around it all seems to lessen, and i find i am able to communicate more truthfully and can make decisions in ways that are more effective.

its when i don't take that necessary time that i make impulsive decisions, whacky demands, knee jerk reactions, and make really foolish mistakes. (and let me tell you, there is no control in any of that!)

what i am learning is that its really normal to want to have that feeling of control,
but that this control concept, is really just a cover up for what i really need.
and if i can try to take just a little bit more time to hear what is going on within me,
i will be able to see much more clearly and ultimately make choices out of what is best rather
than from the grips of fear.

just something ive been thinking about lately.

Posted by jen at 12:41 PM   |   link   |   

September 01, 2009

the work

the examined life, canon xti

believe me.
i get it.
once you start taking a peek inside,
there is just no going back.

but still, we wouldn't have it any other way
now would we....

keep on keeping on...

Posted by jen at 01:37 PM   |   link   |