Category Archives: Jennifer

When she noticed

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Summer officially begins this month, and our days are busier than ever. At the beginning of this year, we chose the prompt “When she noticed…” for June. We didn’t have any preconceived notions then or now. When it came time to take our self-portraits, we simply showed up. We took those moments in front of the camera to check in with ourselves. We each noticed something different; something that we needed.
 
Have you noticed anything new or different in your life this month? What was the effect of noticing? How can you express those sentiments via self-portraiture? We three invite you to give it a try. We’d love to see your images added to our community pool by using the hashtags #sheisthreedotcom #whenshenoticed when you post your self-portraits on Instagram. At the same time, we understand if that doesn’t feel right for you. Either way, we hope you’ll show up for yourselves and notice what is calling you.
 
Do come back here on the 14th, 21st, and 28th of June to read the stories behind our photos. For now, here’s a little sneak peek:

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Does she walk her talk ~ Jennifer

Version 2

 

“She had to stop and think: does she walk her talk?”

 

What is my talk? I had a really hard time trying to pin down exactly what that means. As I sat on a rock next to the daffodils, I stopped to listen. I didn’t hear any clear answers, so I kept sitting there. I stared at the water and felt the cold breeze, thankful that I had thought to grab a coat. I enjoyed hearing the sweet chirping of goldfinches and cardinals, punctuated by the occasional trill of the redwing blackbird. The wind chimes rang in the background, always there to offer a song. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I inhaled until my lungs filled to the point of satiation. Then I let go.

Suddenly, I realized that I had just practiced walking my talk, so to speak. The themes of patience, nature, and letting go had surfaced once again. I don’t know all the answers. Not by any means. Besides, the ones I really want to know aren’t spelled out in any book or illustrated in any chart. They are nestled in the crevices of everyday life. They are inscribed on the petals of a flower. They are written in the bark of the trees. They are emanating from the purr of a cat. They are flowing amidst the ocean waves and gently lapping against the shores of the pond. They are whispering in the tall grass and floating through the air on dandelion seeds.

The answers I seek are subtle yet enormous. They are incredibly simple and yet so hard to attain. How can I be more loving, accepting, patient, and free? How can I release the fears, frustrations, worries, and old patterns still lurking in the shadows? How can I embrace this life with my eyes open and my heart pure? How can I bring light into the world? Even though I don’t have all the answers, I trust that I am slowly unearthing glimmers of them along the way. I never stop moving forward, watching for the next spark, the next shimmer, the next bright spot.  I’ll continue to experience dark and doubtful days, of course, but I do know two things: the darkness always passes, and connecting with nature never fails to show me the light.

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Does she walk her talk

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During the month of May, we’re asking ourselves a pivotal question: “Does she walk her talk?”  What exactly does that mean?  It’s up to you.  We invite you to spend some time sitting with this prompt and evaluating your way of life right now.  Do you practice what you preach, so to speak?  How can you portray that story in a self-portrait?  As always, we encourage you to use this prompt as a springboard.  Let it take you where you wherever you need to go…and remember to bring your camera with you.

 

We’ll be back here on the blog sharing our stories behind the photos on the 14th, 21st, and 28th, respectively.  Come see us here and follow us on Instagram {@sheisthree} as well!  Don’t forget to use the hashtags #sheisthreedotcom #doesshewalkhertalk when posting on Instagram so we can find each other.  Until then, here’s a video for you in which we three discuss this month’s prompt:

 

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Is she aware of ~ Jennifer

Is she aware of what she is holding on to?

 

“Is she aware of what she is holding on to?” ~Jennifer

 

I hold on to too much. There are things both real and imagined, visible and invisible, physical and emotional that I have yet to release. Some are fears. Some are memories of specific events, while others are reminders that I’m afraid to let go of. I have piles of drawings and paintings my daughter has made, each special in its own way. I struggle with which ones to keep and which ones to recycle. It’s irrational of me, but somehow throwing away even the smallest of her offerings feels like I’m throwing away a piece of her and a piece of my heart. These early years with my children are fleeting and I don’t want to forget any of it (except the tantrums and the lack of sleep).

There are videos on my phone that I can’t bear to part with: the first time my daughter walked in the grass, my son chuckling wildly from tickles, my husband spontaneously dancing in the living room to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On.” I’ve gotten pretty good at donating gifts that don’t bring me joy, trusting that they will light up someone else’s world somehow.  I held on to the Santa Claus nightshirt I gave my mom, though…the one that says “Believe” on it. I couldn’t put that one in the donation bin back when we sorted through her belongings. It reminds me of her youthful sense of wonder. And in a bag on the closet shelf sits the beautiful stuffed unicorn she bought for me when I was in second grade. I named it Uranus. (I giggle now, but I was seven years old at the time, and intent on giving it a name that started with a “u” like unicorn.) It’s only an inanimate object, yet I haven’t liberated it yet.  Somehow I still equate that unicorn with my childhood innocence.

My husband always gently reminds me that I can let go; that right now is what matters. Intellectually, I know there’s no need to use up space saving material items. I’m gripping the past so tightly that the present could slip away. I’ve been wasting my energy.  I know I don’t want to keep anything that is holding me back or robbing anyone of happiness, so I’m sorting through what is true and what is only fear.  I’m working to release ideas I have of myself, like the ones that say my nose is too big and my shoulders are too broad. I’m trying to gently embrace reality rather than hold on to the fantasy of what once was or what might have been. My desire is simple yet challenging:  I want to cradle the exquisiteness of today in my hands, and then lovingly set it free.

 

Are you holding on to too much also?  What do you want to let go of?  If you’re ready to give voice to it, please leave me a comment below.  There is such healing in sharing…

 

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Is she aware of…

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In this busy world we need to be aware of so many things at any given moment. Our minds focus on schedules and duties and deadlines. We tend to pay attention to matters that require our immediate attention, thereby overlooking some of life’s deeper messages. And so this month, we are examining our own awareness.  We are looking again.  We are noticing subtleties as well as the seemingly obvious.

 
Come along with us throughout April as we work with the prompt “Is she aware of…?”  Visit us here for our quotes and the stories behind our photos on the 14th, 21st, and 28th of the month.  Post your quotes and your self-portraits on Instagram using the hashtags #sheisthreedotcom #issheawareof so we can find each other.  In the meantime, here’s a video from us to you…

 

 

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What if she uncovered ~ Jennifer

Version 3
 
“What if she uncovered parts of herself that felt lost?”
 
In the last five years, I’ve watched myself change. I’ve seen my body morph with two pregnancies, quickly swelling to accommodate each enormous baby, then slowly shrinking back to my normal weight. I’ve shifted my views of my body, my time, my priorities. Everything went to my children. My body was no longer my own; it became the epicenter of nourishing, soothing, and holding them. My breasts became utilitarian, always heavy, filling with hot milk at the first sound of a cry. My hair stayed up in a swiftly wrapped bun, out of my way and beyond the reach of their little fingers, which tended to grab and pull. Jewelry became a thing of the past. Earrings, necklaces, and bracelets went from objects of adornment to potential choking hazards. Sleep slipped through my fingers night after night, year after year, pulling me farther and farther away from the self I recognized.
 
Motherhood has changed me, but it has not ruined me. It has brought life into focus through a different lens; an amazing one, in fact. At times I have to rotate that lens a bit in order to clearly see what matters, though. Over the past five years, I’ve also learned that on occasion the focus must temporarily shift to my own needs. If I don’t get the sleep, exercise, and nutrition my body needs, I can’t be the mother or the wife (or the human being) I want to be. But there’s more to it than that. Deep down, there’s also the wish to be recognized as a woman; one that can be attractive, feminine, graceful. There’s a desire to peel back the layers of nursing bras and yoga pants just to see if I’m still underneath it all. Sometimes what I need to reconnect with that part of myself is simply a bit of quiet time to brush my hair, put on a pair of earrings, and slip into a dress that makes me feel lovely.
 

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What if she uncovered

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As we inch our way toward spring in the Northern Hemisphere, many of us are seeing the last of the snow melt.  The clouds are beginning to clear on multiple levels.  We’re starting to catch a glimpse of what lies underneath.  This month, we’re wondering the same for ourselves, and for you, too.  “What if she uncovered” is our prompt for March, and we invite you to make use of it in any way you feel called.  By all means, join us by posting your #whatifsheuncovered self-portraits for #sheisthreedotcom on Instagram.  It’s always wonderful to witness you as you peel back the layers.

We’ll be back with our quotes and stories on the 14th, 21st, and 28th.  For now, we have this little video for you!

 

 

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Did she forget ~ Jennifer

Feb2016Jen

 

“Did she forget who she had always wanted to be?” ~Jennifer

 

I’m no domestic goddess.  I paid no attention to how my mom did the laundry.  I had my head buried in a book while she was cooking.  I didn’t want to be stuck behind the stove or in front of the washing machine.  I wanted to travel, learn new languages, earn degrees, and write.  I never thought about where and when a husband and children would fit into my plans, but I knew I definitely wanted them.  As the years went by, I forgot just how much.

I’ve now traveled so much that I no longer have the wanderlust.  I’ve satiated whatever strange need I had to possess knowledge.  I’ve come to enjoy writing as an expression of my heart rather than proof of my brain.  Marriage and motherhood have humbled me and shaped me.  They are integral parts of who I am.

I had an awful case of the flu when it was time to take my February photo.  I didn’t know how to express what I was feeling, other than extremely nauseous.  I attempted to shoot some self-portraits, hoping I wouldn’t look green.  By the time I loaded the photos onto my computer and realized they were unusable, there was nothing I could do.  My husband gathered us up for Sunday breakfast out, which it turns out was an early birthday surprise for me.  My in-laws were there waiting with smiles and presents.  The stack of blueberry pancakes I ate was the best ever, especially because it was the first solid food I had eaten in days.  The gifts I received were heartfelt and thoughtful.  One of them was a bracelet my mother-in-law had had engraved “Strong in the softest of ways,” (which is the title of an essay I had published in Bella Grace magazine this winter).  I gasped when I saw the round charm, so overcome with surprise and so honored to receive it.

After returning home, I started to panic.  What was I going to do about not having a photo for the She is Three monthly triptych?  Then I looked down, where three items illuminated by the sun streaming in caught my eye.  My wedding ring, my new charm bracelet, and the Mama bracelet my daughter had strung for me last year were right there, shining back at me.  They are what I had forgotten in the midst of my worry.

I’m still not a domestic goddess, but I am a wife, a mother, and a woman who strives to be strong in the softest of ways.  Those roles are far harder than any paying job I have ever held.  They are also roles that no amount of studying could have prepared me for.  And so I wear my wedding ring and my bracelets proudly.  They are badges of honor that I have attained through my heart, not my head.  They are reminders of who I always wanted to be.

 

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Did she forget

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It’s all too easy to forget the essentials, isn’t it?  We get swept up in the whirlwind of life.  We stumble here and there.  We get distracted.  We worry.  This month, let’s ask ourselves some questions.  Let’s remember what we’ve forgotten.  Let’s reconnect to our true essence.  Let’s be gentle.  Let’s witness ourselves and one another.

Join the three of us on Instagram (@sheisthree) throughout February by tagging your self-portraits #sheisthreedotcom #didsheforget.  We’ll be looking for you in our community pool.  Thank you for showing up.  We’ll be here on the Si3 blog sharing our quotes and the stories behind our photos on the 14th, 21st, and 28th.   For now, here’s a little sneak peek video…

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When she wakes up ~ Jennifer

Version 4

“When she wakes up, she sets her intention for the day.” ~Jennifer

Most mornings are a blur.
I awaken to the sound of my son calling “Mama, Mama, Mama.”
Or I sense my daughter’s breath on me, her face just inches from mine.
Sometimes mischievous kittens pounce to rouse me.
All this is to say that I’m not focused when I wake up.
I don’t start my day with a beautiful meditation practice.
There are no candles or incense or soft music playing.
Instead, there are sippy cups to fill and diapers to change.

My mornings may not be calm and centered,
Yet amidst all the voices and meows and breakfast bowls,
I enter a moment of silence in my head (albeit brief).
I ask for clarity and compassion.
I pray for health and safety.
I give thanks for this life:
For the blessing of deepest love,
For the honor of motherhood,
For the beautiful land of which we are stewards,
For the sweet companionship of animals,
For the pure joy of flowers,
For the holiness of light,
For the angels in the outfield,
For the kind hearts of friends,
For hope and healing in the world,
For the opportunity to start fresh again,
For all the lessons I’ve learned (even the really hard ones),
For all the miracles yet to come (because I believe they will).

When I wake up in the morning, I set my intention for the day.
Whether it is sunny or cloudy, warm or cold, busy or not,
I always intend that the highest and the best transpire.

I wish the highest and the best for you, too.

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