Thursday, August 3, 2017

10 Things You Probably Don't Know About Me!

10 Things you probably don't know about me...

1. I do not eat fish. The reason being, someone told me when I was very young (probably 5 or 6) that if you eat fish and choke on a bone, you will die. Crazy right? 

2. I love carrots only when they are raw. I will not eat cooked carrots, YUCK!

3. I am addicted to hoarding school supplies, particularly pens. This is a picture of just 1 basket of pens I have and its a pretty deep basket.


4. I had a 31lb tumor removed from my left ovary in 2014. (Many know this, but I have made some new friends since then, ha ha!)

5. I am hyper-sensitive. I feel it all, all the time. I feel others, all the time. Its a curse, but it also allows me to tune into someone who has something to get off their chest. No matter what it is, people vent to me. I should have been a bartender. 

6. I collect Elephants. 

7. I love Tom Hanks. I think he is the funniest guy (behind Robin Williams of course)...I love all of his movies and if you asked me what my favorite movie of all time, it would be ANY Tom Hanks movie. 

8. I used to freestyle dance in my backyard when I was in elementary school. Us kids would dance to NKOTB, Paul Abdul, Debbie Gibson and Tiffany. When the street lights came on and we all had to go inside, I would take my radio to the back yard and dance some more. Yes, it was the 80's. The late 80's. But everything was about dancing!!

9. I buried something in a time capsule on the Air Force base in Belle Chase, LA when I lived there, I was probably around 10 years old. I have had several dreams about going there and digging it up. I have dream't that the Teen Center (where I hung out religiously) had expanded and they dug up the time capsule and put it on display. In my dream, I put a mixed tape in the time capsule. Today, I couldn't tell you what I put in there. 

10. When I was 14 & 15 I was a camp counselor for the Low Country Girl Scouts. I spent 2 summers at their camp in Monks Corner becoming "Duff" which was my camp nickname. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Settling In...

Council Bluffs Iowa has been lovely to us. I find myself having more time to think, more time to waste and watch junk tv. Ha ha. 

We are all moved into our loft, and we love it. This place is so different from every other place we have ever been and I feel so lucky!! I feel I am definitely in the beginning of a new chapter of life. Not only is our new home also my new job, but this place is only for artists! Harvester Artist Lofts has a gallery, a garden, and four floors of amazing art from artists who have lived here or do live here currently. I envision my work hanging in the halls someday. 


Did I mention we are 5 miles away from Omaha?? Yes, Omaha, NE! We are 5 miles from Omaha and its a beautiful city. Council Bluffs is a beautiful town and it is located on the Missouri river which is the border of Nebraska. Our loft is located in downtown Council Bluffs, literally 1 block away from everything. 

Our loft is spacious and comfortable. We have beautiful windows with a 4th floor view! We have updated appliances, and a modern renovation in every unit. 



I had a dream when I was 30 that by the time I was 40 I would be doing what I wanted to be doing. I am 38. I look forward to my 40th birthday when I will have been here a while, settled in and perhaps having my own gallery show. I have worked hard to get here and my work is not done yet. I have changed my life and this is what I have to show for that. AMBITION! 

Ciao,
Jen

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

WE ARE MOVING!!

I figure I need to just use this blog more and this can help me update everyone who wants to know what we are up to!

So its happening, AGAIN! I have taken a job with a place called "Harvester Artist Lofts" in Council Bluffs, IA. Its this amazing redesigned building that offers a home to artists who have lower income levels. This place is beautiful and very unique. I love that I am in a larger area and literally minutes from Omaha, NE. Seems to have a lot of opportunity! 

This job will not only allow me more time for myself, but also nourish my artistic side! How amazing that there is an artist gallery on site for anyone to use. So much inspiration, and I will be surrounded by like-minded people. This journey will just lead me to the next...and so on with our ultimate goal, COLORADO!!! We arent far now! I do feel that I will stay put in Council Bluffs for a while if I can so I can absorb this place before we relocate again.

Well ciao for now!
- Jennifer



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Focused Energy

There is no telling where life's journey will take you. Today, I am living in Galesburg, IL working at a mobile home community. Just 6 months ago I was still in GA, wishing and asking the universe to get me out of there! Focused energy can make things happen. Period.

Concentrating on a destination. Looking at visuals and saying, out loud, that this is what you want; helped me. Sending that vibe or energy into the desire of your dreams; can make your dreams come true. But some say, be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.

Be specific when asking the universe for what you want or you will get exactly what you wish for and MORE! This happened to me. So now I am getting more specific, but also taking baby steps in the direction of my goals. So if I want to move to Colorado, maybe I will take a job in another state that is closer to the destination. I dont have to get there over night.

Since being sober, I have been the most clear headed ever since I was probably 15 years old. Even then I was an emotional teen, so that probably should not count! I process my thoughts at such a high rate that I have developed anxiety with bouts of depression. I am seeing my true self in such a way I never knew existed because I hid behind drugs and alcohol for so many years. I never allowed myself to feel what was real and true. Sure, some days, I miss getting off work and having some "happy hour" time where I indulge in some drinks and take my mind off work. But like every thing you do, eventually, you build up a routine that can turn into an addiction. What I learned about addiction is that you don't know you have an addiction (to anything) until you try to quit. 

The point of this blog post was to express my situation, my outlook, my perspective...it might not happen for everyone like it has happened for me. I dont label my journey with a religious name. I do not "pray" to a god, but rather my spirits around me and the universe or higher power. Whatever fits for you! I have read a lot of different paths and religions and I have taken from each a different lesson and/or a different message. And that is ALL THAT MATTERS!! Your journey is  yours alone and no one can tell you what to believe in. 

Cia!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

365 Days Sober

Where do I even begin. Time flies, even when your not drinking it away! Lessons learned? So many, where would I begin!? I think it is different for everyone, so I cant say my path will be the same as anyone else. My will to quit definitely won over my desire to drink. I am a lucky girl that it was not as hard for me as it could have been. Doesnt mean I do not think about drinking every day. I do. I think about the past, the fun times, the crazy stories and memories, and then I think about all the mistakes....

When I first quit, the hardest part was music. Music was my world, especially when I was drunk. I had the weirdest disconnect with music when I first quit drinking. I worried that I wouldn't be able to listen to music ever again without wanting to drink. Same thing with cooking, football, cookouts, going to the beach, birthday parties, holidays, happy hour, after work life, editing or creating...everything I did was a trigger that I needed to have a drink while I was doing it. I really didn't know how I was going to go about each day without drinking. What do I do??

I had been seeing a therapist for anxiety for about 4 years and I was asked one day if I needed to speak with a substance abuse counselor. I hesitated, but said yes. She immediately made me an appointment with another therapist a few days later and my journey began there. This person really reached me. She had 25 years under her belt, and she really introduced me to sober living. 

I began new habits and started attending some online AA meetings. THIS HELPED! I started drinking some decaf coffee every night after work and probably smoked a lot of cigarettes too. I got myself involved with work more, school and doing the online meetings. This worked for me because it kept me busy and distracted. 

I was not successful the first time I quit. It probably took me about 5 months to really kick it. The biggest help with me quitting was my health. I was experiencing severe sugar drops every morning with my hangover, so bad that I would end sometimes end up in the emergency room. I would drink until I passed out pretty much, maybe around 2-4am. Wake up at 6-7am with a shaking body, high heart rate and extreme HOT flashes all over my body. Every morning, I would crawl into a cold shower and pray to god that he would let me get through this and I promised to change. After the shower, I would pop a pill and go back to sleep. Half a day later, I would come out of my coma and remain in bed the entire day recovering. The next day, I was feeling great again, back to normal. Usually by the third day, I would start all over. Vicious, nasty cycle that went on for many years. 


Some people have this idea in their minds about what an alcoholic is and it can be a very warped idea. I just know there was a problem and a lot of decisions and mistakes were happening that were not good for me. I was blacking out and doing or saying things that just were not good. I was wasting my life. I had given up so much time with family, and I had given up having a family of my own because I was too selfish to quit drinking. I was super depressed for so many years for so many different reasons. Millions of thoughts raced through my head everyday that I could not handle, which is probably why I drank. 

A year later.......

I graduated University of Phoenix (finally) in 2015 with my associates degree in business. Started at the Art Institute for Portrait Photography and will graduate in June 2017. I have began doing photography every moment I get, I work 2 jobs and spend time with people I love. I do not miss out on anything anymore! I have become more patient. I look at the world differently, and I love differently. I found faith in a higher power and purpose in my life that I did not have before. I am a super sensitive person, but I am learning to embrace it. I listen to music today with the passion I always had for it. I can handle being sober, and if I am uncomfortable being around drinkers, I leave. No big deal. It was not easy getting here. I realized that I didnt know I had a problem until I decided to actually quit. It is hard and you need a support system. You might lose some friends a long the way, and you might feel completely alone. But there is this amazing place at AA where everyone supports you and relates, and shares. You feel like you finally found your "tribe"! 

Thanks to my husband and my family for being there for me and supporting me, pushing me and reminding me how awesome I am! One day at a time! 


Saturday, August 22, 2015

90 Days Sober

90 days sober today. 90 days alcohol free. I definitely wasnt sure if I "qualified" to be an alcoholic since I wasnt chemically dependent on alcohol. I would usually get black out drunk at least 2 times a week, and it would have been more had my job not gotten in the way. I was missing almost a day of work every week to 2 weeks. I was lying to myself and my family about the amount of drinking I did. I could never just have 1-2 drinks, that was impossible. I mean, what is the use drinking if your not going to get drunk, right? In February 2015, I started seeing a substance abuse counselor. I opened up to her, and let the truth come out. I drank to get drunk, period. I drank until I blacked out. I usually fought with my husband every night I was drunk, or I would sit up until 4am posting on Facebook. Most friends would know if I was posting a lot past midnight, I was drunk. I was called 'Drunky McGee' a lot from a close friend of mine, and it was pissing me off. Something had to give.

Today I feel better, and my life has definitely changed. I see mornings now, where before I would sleep all day. I am more driven to finish college. I have more time to live life. I am not as emotional or depressed as I would be about life. I am seeing a therapist once a week, and that helps so much. I have a great support system with my family. I am one lucky girl.

Going to attend my first face to face meeting today. I have been putting it off, but I am going to make myself go. I know that I am not fully committing to the steps, and I need to fully commit to my sobriety.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

There is not a moment in my life that I could imagine not having you in it. I am so thankful everyday that I have you around, as so many others have lost their own, just like you did. I don't think there are words that can express the emotion I feel when I think about how much I love you. I have to pause writing this, and really gather my thoughts and emotions. In that pause, I remember your hugs when I was little. I remember your tears when I was hurt. I remember a lot of tears actually... because, like other young teen girls, I tested your sanity with all of my might. I pushed you away. I hated you for grounding me to my room. I rebelled without a cause. Maybe this was to prepare you for something great. I am not sure myself, I just know that I was out of control.

But, you never gave up on me. Always let me come back home. You had to know the storm inside of me would pass eventually. Oh...so...20 years later, here I am at 36 years old! Even though I have no children of my own yet, I do applaud you for being so strong. Holding it all together when you could have just threw in the towel. I admire that most about you.

Thank you mom, for loving me so much. Every lifetime we have, I know our souls are meeting up and we are on this path together for a reason. I pray that we continue to grow and learn from each other. I know we are not promised forever on this earth, and when our time comes to depart I need you to know that you are an amazing mom and I love you in this life and will in the next.

Love always,
Jennifer