Day 3445 – Happy Birthday To My First Book!

Whoooo 2 years! Can’t believe it’s been two years since I published Trusting God With 2 Cents: 22 Days To Becoming A Successful Christian Business Owner!

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Day 3373 – The Importance Of Getting Out Of The House As A Creative

Nearly every week, I meet up with a local custom jewelry designer and have a co-working meeting. What’s really really really awesome is there is some chatting, varying based on the type of week either of us is having, but for the most part it’s a “hey, how are you?” “Good? Great, let’s get to work.” Our headphones go in and we barely talk for a good two hours. Friends, having a co-working friend who will work when you work and not take it personally when you have headphones in, is priceless.

The productivity varies each week too, but most weeks, I get a lot done. I work on my travel blog for the most part, but on some days where I’m really far behind (haha, like today where I’m writing on this blog at nearly 3 pm versus the normal 8/9 am).

As I’ve had this practice, I’ve found how much it really makes a difference in my week. These days, I’m pretty busy with our real estate investing business. So to have a few hours each week to get out is really awesome.

The photo below was taken at our regular stop a few months back. There is such a great vibe here in the coffee shop. There’s never any rush to leave. The staff is really nice and I just love being here.

Do you have a favorite creative spot? Let me know in the comments below!

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Did you like what you read? Here’s some ways you can support us and this blog!
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Day 3198 – Listen To Your Past Self – repost – With Updates

I am getting SO close to finishing one portion of my major blog project (editing old content with my affiliate links, and cataloging my good stuff for ease of sharing/updating later). I have less than a year left in the posts I have already marked as needing my attention. The post below came up in today’s update. It’s wonderful how some themes repeat themselves in your life over and over again. I feel as though I’ve always been different and one who embraces being different. When I was younger, I think I was embracing and flaunting my differences to gain attention. But now, I embrace who I am, the choices I’ve made, and the things I say no to because I see how healthy it makes me. I wear my cloak not to stand out and say “look at me! I am different and weird and I love it!” But it now says to me “I am comfortable in this because it’s warm, it takes care of a need, and it is a reflection of me.” (which fun fact, my cloak is about 20 years old). Where before I would wear a fun shirt or wear sparkles to stand out, now I wear them because they make me genuinely happy.

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Originally posted 12/4/16
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One thing I try to do regularly is journal. I’ll listen to sermons and jot down some notes. Sometimes I’ll write a little more if something is pressing on my heart. My journals are a conversation with God, talking like I would to my best friends. I’m nearing the end of my current journal and was searching for an empty journal. I found a book I received while rocking out at Cornerstone (a huge Christian Rock festival) 10 years ago. Sometimes I write notes to myself in books and this book was no different. Here’s what I wrote on 7/8/06

“This theme of being who you are meant to be has been haunting me for months. Maybe a year. This week though, it is evident in everything I do. It screams at me through the songs, the speakers, even the lines on the other side of this page. Every part of my being is aching to deepen this journey. To seek and find all that I truly am in Christ. I am excited, elated. I want to scream it from the rooftops. Yet, I feel the battle beginning to rage. The evil of this world already fights against me. As it always does when someone strives to be who they are in Christ. To let go of what the world and even Christians around them tell them to be. It is ok to be you. If you are keeping Christ as your central theme. Christ’s personality is so vast yet so precise. There is room for all of our personalities there. How glorious, how wonderful, it is ok to be you.

I must write this book. People need to know.”

I’m not sure what my theme of that book was. I’m not sure if it was even remotely about business since I had been photographing weddings for less than two years. But the desire to write a book has been in my soul for a long time. I can’t believe that I am so very close to putting my devotional on Amazon. I can’t believe in a short amount of time, I will be able to say – “Hello, my name is Jennilyn, I am an author.” I should have listened to past Jennilyn much sooner. I can only hope that this book will help more Christian business owners trust God more in their businesses and life.

For laughs, here’s me driving to the festival and goofing off. Somethings never change. 🙂

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Did you like what you read? Here’s some ways you can support us and this blog!
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Day 3068 – My Journey Into Full-time Business Ownership – or – Portions Of The Last Chapter In My First Book

My journey into fulltime business ownership was something like the changing of seasons. It all started in fall, my absolute favorite time of year. The colors burst forth from all sides. The air is crisp and wonderful. There are warm mugs of cider, tea, or hot chocolate shared around the campfire. When I started into fulltime business ownership, it was much the same. The colors were brighter; this was something I had dreamed about for years. Ever since my early weddings, I knew this is what I wanted to do.

Those first few months were wonderful. We photographed amazing couples, I attended one of the biggest wedding conferences in the world, I slept in (after I got over the belief that I had to get up when “everyone else did”), I saw friends during the day that I never could have seen otherwise. I even went to the daytime Bible study at my church. Bright oranges and yellows and reds, everywhere.

As with the seasons of the year, it slowly crept into winter, so that when I sat up and noticed it, I couldn’t believe where I was. By January, I realized that while I had gotten inquiries and had consults, I hadn’t booked anything substantial. I was under this assumption that now that I was fulltime, I could merely increase my prices to reflect that it was my fulltime job and people would pay. It wasn’t until I stopped to think over the past months that I knew I had priced too high, too fast, and way above what we were worth at the time. My pride took a big hit.

Isn’t that how most winters of our souls go? We are so caught up in other things that we don’t see the change in ourselves, how far we’ve fallen, and how much we need God. Isn’t it a time of God showing us a way we need to grow? Moving us away from our sinful nature and more into the nature of His Son? The winters show us how utterly desperate we are. This one was no different for me.

Around this time is when we started praying before each consult. This change softened our hearts and made it easier to hold each opportunity with hands held open to God. He gives and takes away, after all. Everything we have is God’s, whether we admit it or not. I think the sooner that we realize this and live our lives like this, the sooner we’ll see success. I’m not talking about monetary success, even though it’s sometimes part of it. I’m talking about seeing success as how God is working in you.

Through this winter, the biggest thing we came away with, the thing that made me realize I needed to write this book was this fact: God defines success differently than we do. In the context of our relationship with Him, our success was a closer walk with Him and a deeper prayer life with each other. This was a very tough financial time for us, but God always provided just what we needed when we needed it. God made such a big change in us that friends of ours now reference us when giving advice to someone about a tough financial time. “Go talk to Jen and Bret about finances. They have a lot of experience and good advice.”

While it’s nice to be seen as an “expert” in something, and there is a part of me that takes pride in it, I can’t. There is no way I could have navigated that dark winter on my own. There is no way that I could have orchestrated my life to fit as well as it did in all those circumstances. Every success goes back to God; He is so wise to let us go through winters in life. If it weren’t for the winters, how on earth could we appreciate the spring?

Spring bloomed gently around us until there was overflowing joy and rapturous beauty. We started booking weddings again, with wonderful people. Things were clicking. The machine was working. The floodgates were open with blessing.

When summer rolled around, we were ready for the hot and sticky situation that met us. Bret was fired. His part-time job had been the main source of income we had over the summers. His military college benefits and monthly stipends only occurred in the nine months he went to college. On the bright side, there was only one day that we really freaked out. It was bad. You would think that after all that we went through in the months leading up to this point, we would have responded differently.

The next thing I knew (only four days after he lost his job), I was attending a life-changing conference for women and Bret had found a job that would provide enough money to cover expenses until he went back to school.

This excerpt is from pages 73-77 in Buy my book, Trusting God With 2 Cents: 22 Days To Becoming A Successful Christian Business Owner (this is an affiliate link to my book. This means we’ll get a small percentage of what you order, if you choose to order something on Amazon).

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Did you like what you read? Here’s some ways you can support us and this blog!
Join our Facebook group, Planning an Epic Road Trip on Any Budget
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Buy my book, Planning an Epic Road Trip on any Budget
Buy my book, Trusting God With 2 Cents: 22 Days To Becoming A Successful Christian Business Owner.
Shop on Amazon (no additional cost to you, this gives us a percentage of what you order).
Check out our resources page.
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Day 3013 – World Mental Health Day – and – Another Peek In My Alcoholism Memoir

Today is World Mental Health Day. From the Days of the Year website, here’s a little bit about the day – “Mental health problems, ranging from issues like depression and anxiety disorders to conditions like schizophrenia, affect millions of people around the world. In fact, according to current statistics, 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem during their lifetime and many more will see friends of family members affected.

What a staggering statistic! And one that I believe is pretty darn accurate. There are so many things that the people we know struggle with that they keep hidden or think they should keep hidden. Today is a good reminder that we’re all not perfect, and to take some time to get to know those around us. And that if you struggle with something, it’s ok, and there is much freedom in sharing your struggles with someone you trust.

In a bit of serendipity, I was working on the chapter about being a Christian with a drinking problem in my memoir today. Let it encourage you to go deeper with those around you. And let it serve as a reminder that we’re all facing battles that aren’t seen on the surface.

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A friend recently asked how long I’ve been a Christian. They thought maybe a new belief is what caused me to stop drinking. I’ve been a Christian my whole life – which makes the fact that I had a drinking problem as a Christian more confusing, and hard to believe. But here’s the thing – no one is immune to struggling with things. I think being honest with yourself is a big part of knowing when you have a problem. It wasn’t until I was honest with myself, acknowledging that I couldn’t drink ever again, that a change was finally made. It wasn’t until several months after I was sober that I could acknowledge that I was an alcoholic.

I didn’t look like what you might think an alcoholic would look like. I went to church, I was homeschooled K-12. I got good grades when I went to college and graduated with honors. What you didn’t see were the times I hugged the toilet. What you didn’t see were the hysterical crying fits I had. What you didn’t see were the puffy eyes and bloated body the next day. You were surprised when you heard I was an alcoholic. You had no idea. I had become a master at hiding my drinking problem. Whether it was sneaking extra glasses of wine when you weren’t looking or sipping cooking wine when the alcohol was gone. And yet, I never thought I had a problem. Yea, maybe I needed to think about things, maybe I had too many drinks when I drank….but there always seemed to be an excuse to drink.

On the last night I drank, Bret and I were supposed to do evening devotions, but we didn’t because I was so intoxicated.

After many of these humiliating moments, I would swear off alcohol. I would be ashamed of myself. “How could a Christian act like this?” I’d tell myself I won’t drink again. I would journal and ask God’s forgiveness. Many times, if not every time, this verse came up:

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8

Every time I read it, I’d mentally agree and think “this is it. I can do this.”

But then a few months would go by and I would think, “Oh it’s our anniversary,” “Oh, it’s so and so’s birthday,” “Oh! It’s Tuesday!” And there I was again, right back where I was before. It would start slow and then would be a full-blown problem again. It was an endless cycle.

Here are a few entries I’ve journaled about my drinking over the years.

1/1/06
Maybe these dark times are to show me what God has saved me from. A taste of what the worldly Jennilyn would be.

I didn’t realize I would end up being worldly Jennilyn when I was arrested only eight and a half months later. I didn’t realize I would cross that line – or how easy it would be.

So when did I know I was an alcoholic?

Probably in the few months after my last drink. Here’s a snapshot from my journal.

September 29, 2014 (first day sober)
I do enjoy it and I have had some great times, yet I’ve quit so many times. Can I really not control myself or am I trying to prove to myself that I can? Am I holding on to sin? Should I cut it loose? Do I need to cut it out completely? Truly? Forever? Is it standing in my way?

On October 3, 2014
Thank you also for the clear “it’s time” to quit drinking. Thank you for the strength already against temptation. Let it open doors to honest communications about how Christians aren’t perfect.

Another factor to this time being different was I took a few days to make the decision. Other times, it was a quick decision. It used to be a way to placate Bret – “Don’t worry babe, this is the LAST time.”

Looking back, I think it has been so true – that it opened lines of communication. People are shocked when they hear about my sobriety – “but you’re a Christian!”

Thinking back to the months following this moment, I remember thinking that there is almost more stigma against people who don’t drink than people who do. I was more embarrassed and nervous to say “no thank you” to a drink, then when I was downing bottle after bottle.

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My very last margarita!

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Did you like what you read? Here’s some ways you can support us and this blog!
Join our Facebook group, Planning an Epic Road Trip on Any Budget
Join the Journey With The G’s email list (bonus – you get my Epic Road Trip Budget spreadsheet)
Buy my book, Planning an Epic Road Trip on any Budget
Buy my book, Trusting God With 2 Cents: 22 Days To Becoming A Successful Christian Business Owner.
Shop on Amazon (no additional cost to you, this gives us a percentage of what you order).
Check out our resources page.
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel