The Juice Babes

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So many times I let other people’s success determine my own. I compared my talents or abilities to theirs. I could never do that so why even try. I let my low self esteem choose my path.

I’m in this group message called…brace yourself… “Juice Babes”. I think it should have been named “Let’s go to hell for fun”. This group is made up of friends of mine that decided it would be wonderful to do a juice cleanse. Somehow I agreed to do this and I chose the three day cleanse. It seemed simple enough. Drink healthy cold pressed juices for three days.

The first day went fairly ok. I did everything exactly the way I was told and I was feeling pretty proud of myself.

Then day two came. It started with a major headache. I drank some water and took some Advil. Then I began to drink the first juice of the day. For some reason this one didn’t go down like yesterday. It seemed to stop halfway down and I felt super full. I finally finished the bottle, when the nausea began. I slowly sipped on cold water praying it would stop. It didn’t! I had a meeting at work and I honestly have no idea what we talked about. In my head I was saying over and over please don’t throw up, please don’t throw up. It was soon time for my next juice so I choose the one with ginger in it to settle my stomach. It seemed to help for a while. I can do this, I think. A couple hours later it was time for the beet juice. I braced myself and started sipping. This beet concoction had an overwhelming smell. It was a strange mixture of smells that didn’t seem to go together and it was not pleasant. That’s when the room began to spin. The kind of spinning after you’ve had one too many glasses of wine. I was either going to pass out or throw up. Neither of which I wanted to do at work. I went home and laid down. Three hours later I woke up and I did feel better.

Meanwhile the “Juice Babes” are continuing the texts of how great they are doing. Even sharing bible verses of encouragement. I never knew sharing a bible verse could irritate me so much. I regrouped myself and tried to drink another juice. It was at this point I knew my body just wasn’t going to let me take one more drink of this disgusting stuff. How have these women convinced themselves this juice is good? If I could punch someone through the phone it would have happened. I did tell you they are my friends, right?

I threw in the towel! Yes, I quit and I didn’t care! I couldn’t take another minute of feeling so bad. I ate some pretzels and made myself a big cup of coffee. End of day two.

Day three I was not going to sabotage myself. I ate a very healthy lunch. Chicken salad with no dressing and fresh fruit. I can do my own thing. (pats self on back) Then why was I getting so upset by all the texts still coming in from the “Juice Babes”. Each sharing their plans. One was going to extend their juicing one more day. That one hurt. How they were meeting up to go for a walk. I could’t go. With each text I was feeling more and more defeated. I finally confessed to the group I quit. As expected they were very supportive, but I still felt bad about myself. Day three left me very defeated.

Day four starts off on the wrong side of the bed… I woke up to ding, ding! Here come the texts again. The “Juice Babes” were at it early today. Sharing how many pounds they lost. Really?! I wanted to pull the covers over my head and not face the day. It’s here where I started to get that knock on my heart. The one where Jesus is saying, “Hello I’m still here!” “Why are you letting Satan tell you, you are less than”?

I love when I get knocked on the head for not trusting God. Who cares that I didn’t make it as far as everyone else in the group. I did the best I could and that’s all that matters. So today I choose the path of victory! On this path I keep moving forward. On this path I keep my eyes on Jesus and push aside the pull from Satan. On this path I chose to hear the voice that builds me up. On this path I put on my shoes and head out the door!

I ran further than I have in a long time and for that I am grateful!

Psalm 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore. ESV

Heavenly father, thank you for loving us! Please help those who are stuck in the lies that say they are not good enough. Help us to see the path that you have made for us. Help us to take your hand and trust each day to you. Please guide us and give us courage to do the things that seem hard. In your holy name Jesus, Amen.


The Rusty Bits

FullSizeRenderAfter I lost Donald, people told me how hard all the firsts were going to be. The first Christmas, the first anniversary and the first birthday, all were tough, but for me it’s the seconds. All the seconds are making me so aware of how unaware I was just a year ago. Maybe this was God’s way of protecting me through the loss of my husband. He knew I couldn’t handle the reality all at once. This time of seconds is my awakening. The fog is lifting and reality is smack in my face.

With eyes open I’m noticing how everything is falling apart. Even the fence on the side of my house has rusted through and is held up only by the vines that have grown around it. Each car has some major issue with it. And the termites have decided to move in and make themselves at home. Part of me wants to sell it all and run away. The tent life wouldn’t be that bad, right?  If I don’t own anything then I don’t have to be responsible for it.

Unfortunately I’ve been checked out of my kids lives as well. While on autopilot, they have been experiencing their own rusty bits. They have been parenting themselves. I took a sabbatical I wasn’t aware I was on.  My first and foremost maintenance is with my kids. Time for tough love! I can already tell that they have been craving for my return. Even though it is painful for them to have a reality check, reality is what they want.

“Hello, I’m your mother and I’m back”!

I’ve had to look at myself as well. What have I been neglecting when it comes to me? I just shared with my Young Life friends how in high school I became an expert of putting on a fake facade. No-one could see the real me. The broken dirty girl full of shame. I did the same thing this last year and a half. I couldn’t dare let anyone see how sad I was. How I couldn’t even remember to breath sometimes, let alone notice my world falling apart around me. I was clinging on by my fingernails. All hidden behind a sweet smile. A smile meant to deflect any attention directed at my situation. The famous “I’m fine” we all throw out there so no-one can see the pain.

I thank God for the constant reminder through it all to “Come to me”. It was this safe place that held me together when I couldn’t do it myself. I still cling to this verse when my world seems to crumble around me.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Heavenly Father – Thank you for being a place of rest and restoration. I pray for others going through a great loss. I pray they will run to your loving arms and find this rest you offer. Lord give them courage to seek you out and lay their burdens at your feet. In your holy name Jesus, Amen.


My Testimony Part 2

DONALD & JENNI

1992 brought a May wedding. We shared dreams and made plans. We had long conversations solving all the worlds’ problems. After long days working for others, Donald and I would spend late nights building our own business. We started Leonetti Graphics, focusing on logos and brochures, until the day Donald was asked if he could make a t-shirt. He lied of course, and said yes. The rest is history. Now most of our business is screen printing and embroidery.

Somewhere in the midst of it all, I found Jesus. A friend took me to see a woman who shared with me that Jesus didn’t see me as the dirty, abused little girl, but instead a beautiful bride dressed in pure white. This changed my life. I didn’t realize how much I carried my past with me. Being free of the shame and guilt allowed my relationship with Christ to flourish. How little I would realize that this moment would help me through the darkest time of my life.

1996 brought a son, Matthew, and what began an 18 year adventure of being a stay at home mom. I watched from the sidelines as Donald grew our business more and more. 2000 brought the sweetest Valentine, Lauren.

The next 14 years focused on the kids and all their activities. We couldn’t get enough baseball, dance, golf and cheer. We found such joy in our kids.

We had a great marriage full of valleys and peaks. The peaks outnumbered the valleys. I’m grateful for all these moments spent with Donald.

July 17, 2014 was the day to forever change my life. Donald headed to work and never came back. I will never forget that fateful knock on the door where I found a policeman standing there with the news that my husband was murdered. With one fateful shot, a 22-year marriage was over. I became a window, single mom, and in charge of our company.

This is where my new story begins …