I bad mouth Facebook quite a bit, but without it I would never have really gotten to know Jen. Instead of telling you how our paths crossed many, many years ago, I’d rather tell you about how she encouraged me through her daily posts. Jen is a mother of two and she spreads love and joy with her Faceworld every single day. God lead me directly to her years after we initially met. If you continue reading you’ll know she surrounds herself with people who are challenging her to be better. She has done this for me. When I’m tired and perusing Facebook because I want a distraction, stumbling on her post for the day will pick me up and place me right back where I belong.
There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who loves the many blessings God has given her. There is nothing more beautiful than a mother enjoying the struggles and doing her absolute best. There is nothing more beautiful than a husband and wife team working together. Friends, there is nothing more beautiful than a Woman of Grace like Jen.
Meet my girl Jen J.
Tell us what makes your family unique.
I think what makes us unique is that we like to do absolutely everything together. We all clean together, we go to the grocery store together, we work together to complete all tasks; even at 4, Owen knows us as a unit, that we are always there for each other and we work together always. We have a smaller house, and we will always have a small house. I hate the idea of wasted space and unused rooms! Plus, I want my kids to always want to be with us, so what better way to teach that than to DO that!!
What are the difficulties of being a stay at home parent? What are the joys?
Every single moment has its challenges and joys. Literally I go from thinking I have lost my mind to knowing how blessed I am to have this opportunity in a split second. Really, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love and struggle with the fact that I am responsible for teaching them, from social skills, to pre- academic skills, to emotional regulation, it’s all on my shoulders during the daytime hours. I put a lot of weight on that. When they act nicely, I’m looking for ways to push them and teach them more; when they act inappropriately I blame myself!
How would you describe yourself as a person?
I would absolutely describe myself as a work in progress; ever changing. My goal every morning is to be better than I was the day before. More patient, more productive, more loving, more active. I give myself a lot of grace. When there are hard days I call a spade a spade, center myself, and try to learn from it and push forward.
Share with us something you value in others, in life, or just generally.
Above all things, I think I value respect most of all. We try to treat all people with dignity and respect, no matter what—just love like Jesus loved. With that, we like to surround ourselves with like-minded people.
What outcomes do you wish for your children and how to you attempt to achieve that?
I hope my boys have kind hearts. I hope they are optimistic and driven. I hope they do good and love big. I can only hope that I am teaching these things every single day. My husband and I try hard to hold to these values in all situations so that we are showing them what it is to be a light for others and work through challenging situations.
Is there anything you wish you would have done differently from the start of your marriage/parenthood?
What a loaded question! Nothing? Everything? Really though, we are all works in progress and I 100% believe I am exactly in the place in life that God put me. We wouldn’t be the parents we are if we didn’t have the struggles or successes of our pasts.
Who do you look up to in your life?
I’m not sure I have a person in particular that I look up to. But I focus my energy on strong women, Christ lovers, healers, veteran moms and wives. “They say” you become the people you are around the most. Therefore, I believe that if you see yourself as the best/smartest/etc. person in the room, you are in the wrong room. So, I like to surround myself with people who are walking the path that I want to walk.
What have you learned along the way that others may also benefit from knowing?
Just to have grace and faith. We are all doing a great job. Every day we are impacting our people, teaching them with everything we do. Being hard on yourself will get you nowhere, so I TRY to practice accepting things and situations as they are, take them in, learn, and grow with it.
What would you consider the hard parts of being a wife and mother?
It’s hard. There is no way around that. Both jobs are 24/7. Balancing emotions is (and always will be) hard for me. Being tired and wanting to delegate to your husband, and then feeling guilty for delegating (or letting yourself down for not living up to your expectations of yourself). Working with the kids all day creating a tired wife at 5pm, which again, lets down your expectation of what you should be as a wife. All the while having grace with yourself because we cannot be all things all the time, and this tricky balancing act is a constant work in progress.
Tell us three fun or interesting facts about you.
Oh my. I am on a journey to lose weight. I have lost about 30 lbs thus far and have gained 1000 other things! I call myself obscenely optimistic-and I LOVE spreading optimism and motivation! We have music on at our house during almost all waking hours!
Would you care to share anything else with the readers?
The best way to do anything is to just do it. If you want to live a Godlier life, literally start walking like Jesus walked. Love, forgive, serve, pray. If you want to be more active, get up. Go for a walk, get out of the house. This goes for anything, being more patient, following career goals, academic goals, becoming happier or more patient. Change starts within you, and it’s so easy and so hard to begin. But once you take a tiny step in the right direction, it will snowball, and you will make massive movement. Also, learn from everything, dwell on nothing.