Monday, August 29, 2016

Finally Done

I just finished a project that took me over a year to complete.  It was my own personal, artistic marathon, per se.  I knew it would take me a long time to finish it before I even started it, but I wanted to do I did.  It was fun and it stretched me and my skills in amazing ways. Here are 5 things I learned:

1. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Many times throughout this project, I wanted to stop and cry, "UNCLE!" I felt unqualified and untested.  This was bigger than anything I'd ever done before.  I had never had the lead on any project this huge, but I knew that I could figure it out.  There were a lot of prayers that went up asking for ideas, guidance, and resources.

2. Communication is key.  I had to communicate clearly and often with my clients.  Expectations cannot be unspoken.  We all know what happens when we assume...  I also learned that every client has a different communication style.  It's my duty as the project manager to figure it out and work it out.

3. If I expect it, I must inspect it.  Apparently, this is an old business adage.  Prior to hitting a speed bump along the way, I hadn't heard it.  Now I know.  Now I inspect what I expect.  I could probably write a whole novel on this idea now, but I'll sum it up by saying this: it's okay to be nice when offering correction, but it's not being nice to not offer a needed correction.

4. Just do it.  When I went to the original project consult, the client asked me if I could handle it.  It was a big project, and since he is a friend of mine, he knew I also work a full time job (outside of this), in addition to raising a family, and teaching at my karate school.  I only hesitated for a second before I responded that I could.  Because I said I could, I did it.  It terrified me, but I'm so glad I did it.

5. "Excitement comes from the achievement.  Fulfillment comes from the journey that got you there."-Simon Sinek I came across that quote from Simon Sinek this morning after we had the open house to welcome the kids to their new rooms.  (In case you missed it in previous posts, this giant project was the remodel of the student center at my local church.  It was 7 large rooms in all and a rather large hallway.) This quote is a great summary of what this process has been for me.  I'm very excited for it to be done, but I loved the process along the way.  I got to paint huge murals and detailed pieces.  I had to coordinate several other workers and pieces and timelines.  It all came together in the end and it's fantastic!  

 colors: UL cherry red & sunshine yellow

I'm very proud of how it turned out, and I'm proud of me for getting it done.  I tell you this not to brag or be vain about what I did, but to encourage you.  I am not any better of a person than you.  I may have developed some serious time management skills, but I'm really just a normal human being.  If you have something that you are called to do, then do it.  It is not lofty or dreamy or whimsical to want to step into the gifts that God gave you. It's what He created you for.

Go.  Make it a beautiful day, friends.

If you'd like to see more of the details of the student center remodel, you can follow me on Instagram for fun snippets, or you can jump over to to my projects page.  I'll be updating it over the next week or so.  Stop by often.

Friday, August 26, 2016

I Thought I Was an Optimist

We've all heard the comparison between an optimist and a pessimist.  A pessimist sees the glass as half empty.  The optimist sees half full.  What if there were a third option?  A realist.  They understand the glass is half empty...and that you can always put in more.

I used to think I was a relatively optimistic kind of person, but recently I've been feeling a bit more weight than normal with our very prolonged closing on the house we were selling (and the less than expected profit), and the culmination of a large project that I've been working on for a year...on top of the regular craziness that is our life. 

As I ruminated over this with my coach this week, we looked at these 3 life outlook styles: optimist, pessimist, and realist.  (The credit on these ideas goes to Viktor Frankl and then Hyrum W. Smith. Frankl was a holocaust survivor.  Smith studied prisoners of war.) The pessimist looks at the situation, sees that it's difficult and then lays down to die or give up.  The optimist sees the situation and thinks it will all be better very soon...and then when it's not, also lays down and gives up and dies--which was not the response I thought it would be.  The realist sees the difficult situation, understands the fight ahead, and still has hope as they press forward.  Life can be very hard sometimes, friends (Jesus told us it would be!), but we always have a choice in our response.  I'm borrowing from Viktor Frankl on this one to say it best:
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
I want to offer one more example of a realist today: Jesus Christ.  He knew the difficulty he was facing as He headed toward an excruciating death on a Roman cross...but He did it anyway because of His love for me and you.  He had the hope that because of His sacrifice, we could then be in Heaven with Him when we come into relationship with Him.  So beautiful.  How does your outlook take shape today?

 color: UL mustard seed
Get this reminder for your own wall here.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

Thank for subscribing to this blog!  I love that I can share my thoughts with you each week.  My hope is that it makes a difference in your life for the positive.  Feel free to share posts that touch a cord with you on your favorite social media outlet.  You can also catch up with me on Instagram to see what kind of wall talking fun I'm currently working on.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Just Ask Me

Today we launched a new program at our church called "Pray for Me." It is a program where adults that are willing, sign up to be prayer champions.  Then on the designated kick off Sunday, the kids come up to one of the waiting adults and ask,
"Will you pray for me?"
It's so simple, but many of the kids seemed to struggle with it.  Kids that are not normally shy, hesitated and became nervous when faced with this task of asking an adult to pray for adult that had already committed to pray.  Even when it's a sure bet, we still hesitate and doubt ourselves and our value sometimes.  What terrible lies the voices in our heads tell us.  

In this particular situation, it was a guaranteed "yes" response.  The kids just needed to ask.  It's an interesting perspective in that the child or teenager was asking the adult for prayer.  It is a very vulnerable spot to be in...and one that we don't often emphasize in faith building situations.  Most often it seems the adult is seeking the child.  Child, come to this with me.  Child, go to that meeting/group/club.  In Pray For Me, the situation is reversed.  That is a good thing.  It's teaching our kids to take the initiative in their faith, to own it themselves, to learn to understand it themselves.

 color: UL cherry red

Pray for Me is also an amazing opportunity to really learn the power of praying for another person.  I cannot adequately explain that idea, so I'll share the kick off sermon from this morning here.  Good stuff.  Check it out.

How can I pray for you?  I'd love for you to let me know in the comment section.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

You can follow me on Twitter @JensWallsTalk.  Thanks for subscribing!

Friday, August 19, 2016

When Your Cash Cow is Really a Piggy Bank

We finally closed on our house this week.  We sold our rental house.  It was actually the first house we bought.  It was one of the most drawn out, messed up closings ever...says my realtor of 35 years experience.  Ugh.  We are so thankful it's over.  I can't even begin to express how grateful we are to not have to pour money into a second mortgage.  That was awful and stressful...and not very profitable.  I realize we are rookies at the house selling part of this equation, but we were disappointed to not walk away with more money.  Here's what we learned.

1. When you have an FHA loan, you may not put any money down, but they take that loan guarantee fee out when you sell the house.  Ouch.  We might have been told that when we purchased the house 9 years ago, but we didn't remember that and that pretty much sucked to give the government a huge chunk of our profit.

2. If you have things that need to be repaired or replaced (like a roof), then just do it.  Ideally, do it while you still live there, so you can enjoy it.  There was a slew of things that happened when we were trying to complete the roof on a deadline--like a week long rainstorm like we never have in our sunny region.

 custom expression colors: UL cherry blossom & mulberry wine

3. It's okay to ask questions.  I'm sure I drove my realtor and her team crazy, but they never showed it and always answered my questions promptly.  They are the experts and that's what they are there for.  

4. Prioritize.  We did walk away with a little money, just not near what we expected.  It's still a big chunk out of our debt snowball, but not the chunk we wanted.  We're starting with the small stuff and paying it off and then working our way to the bigger.  Now more than ever, we are communicating about where this money will go.  

We are on the same team, my hubby and I.  We deal with disappointment and victories together. That's part of why we have been married for 17 years, and why we'll be married for another 17 and then another 17.  That makes it sound like we're perfect and always communicate well.  I wouldn't be telling the truth if you thought that.  Sometimes we have to process for a bit and then come back together.  We have to be honest that we are hurt or disappointed or maybe even blame one another for sucky circumstances.  But then we forgive and move on because we are on the same team--even when the cash cow turns out to be a little piggy bank.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

Thanks for subscribing!  Now jump over to Instagram and check out my current Wall Talking projects. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Education Inflation

It used to be that to have a bachelor's degree was good. To have a master's degree was exceptional and a Ph.D. was extraordinary. But once everyone got a bachelor's degree, that wasn't good enough anymore. Then more people started getting master's degrees.  The people who previously had masters degrees then went back to school again to  Ph.D.'s.  

I recently had a conversation with a person who got a new job this past year.  She has a bachelor's degree. She is doing very well at her job and performing all the tasks required of her, and then some, I'm sure.  But now "they" have told her that she needs to earn a master's degree in order to keep her job.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for education.  I'm all for learning.  (Learner and input are in my top 5 strengths.) I'm also an intelligent person, but it is beyond me why it is logical to require someone to go into debt (with school loans because they are not paying for said required education), add extra stress on one's schedule (for ongoing classes), and probably cause them to either be a worse employee or have so much stress that it causes them to be sick.  What is truly the benefit? Perhaps an overhaul of the system is in order.

Here's another example.  I've mentioned my mom before. She has been very successful in a lot of arenas.  She currently runs the Prison Trained K9 Companion Program for the state of Colorado.  Not only does she run it, she started it. (Go, Mom!) She doesn't have a bachelor's degree, yet she created and maintains a self funded, successful program that rehabilitates unwanted dogs...and people, on many levels. Yet she still gets grief for not having a college degree. I know I'm biased, but it almost seems that "they" want to feel better about the money and time "they" spent on their own college degrees.

colors: UL cherry red & nautical blue

This world is changing.  Yes, I still want my kids to go to college.  But they will work while they're there...and neither my kids or my husband and I will be going into debt over it.  Statistics show that kids who work while in college graduate faster and get better grades anyway. There are so many ways to learn now that are so much less expensive than college.  Online learning through courses and mentoring programs have a much more personalized angle. Coaching programs with experienced business people are everywhere, and often free or minimal cost. Apprenticeship programs are not a thing of the past.  I've even seen intensive learning programs that are short in length, but high in content and quality--lasting weeks instead of years.

It just doesn't make sense anymore to get a degree "just" to get a degree. Get it because you want to learn or gain new skills. Question the "theys" when they want you to get a degree just because.  How can you restructure your learning?

I'll step off my soapbox now.  I'm sure I'll step on some toes with this post, but I do welcome your feedback and civil discussion in the comments below.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

You can find out more about me and what I do at

Friday, August 12, 2016

No More Brain For You

Space that is.  Brain space.  I'm not giving anymore brain space to anchors.  Now it sounds like I'm talking in some weird code jibberish, but I'm pretty sure you know what I mean.  An anchor is one of those people that, simply put, drags you an anchor on a boat.  Sometimes they are a random person that has come into your life, and sometimes it's a not so random family member or a co-worker...that there is no getting away from.

Sometimes we can use that anchor. Sometimes we can let the anchor motivate us.  When I say motivate, I'm not saying get mad.  Mad is not the same as motivate.  Rather, let it motivate you to define yourself.  Let it motivate you to clarify who you are and what you want and to create further understanding in your own brain about who you truly are.  I had an anchor experience last weekend, and it prompted this post about who I am and how I feel about myself.

It is never my intent to be an anchor, but if I am an anchor to you, please drop me.  But let's explore some ideas for a moment before you do that; I am happy for you even when your success is different than mine, so I'm pretty sure I'm not the anchor in that situation.  And I'd much rather have the hard conversation and you tell me how I'm being an anchor to you, so I can work on that myself. I'm fairly certain I won't continue to be the anchor maybe you are your own anchor.

 colors: UL Caribbean blue & Nautical blue

Either way, I am choosing to not dwell on the negative.  I'm choosing to fill my mind with things that are growing me in a positive direction.  I'm choosing to let the anchors go be anchors somewhere else...even though they continue to be in my life.  I am choosing to have positive anchors such as truth from God's word, encouraging words from friends and family that truly know me, and hope that I am following the path the I know God has given to me.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

As soon as you are done here, jump over to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to see what kind of Wall Talking fun I'm having today.  I'm @JensWallsTalk. You can also subscribe to this blog by entering your email in the box below.

Monday, August 8, 2016

I Like Me in 82 Words

I like me.

I am proud of who I am.

I like who I am on the inside.

...and the outside.

I'm not perfect.

I will never be perfect in this life.

I like me anyway.

I am beautiful.

I am intelligent.

I am tenacious.

I am creative.

I am an artist in so many ways.

I am not selfish.

I am a caretaker.

Who someone else is doesn't change who I am.  Even when they don't like me.

I like me.

What do you need to remind yourself of today?
Make it a beautiful day, friends.

colors: UL nautical blue & electric pink

Visit me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to see different views of my current creative endeavors. I'm @JensWallsTalk.   You can also subscribe to this blog by simply entering your email in the "Follow by Email" box at the end of this post.  

Friday, August 5, 2016

Phone-y Observations

When I was growing up, we obviously didn't have cell phones.  I certainly didn't have my own cell phone and I absolutely didn't text.  When we wanted to play with our friends, we walked ourselves to their door, knocked on it and asked whomever came to the door if our friend could come out and play. It wasn't hard.  It was what we did.  

In that simple act, we learned several little life lessons.  First, we learned to ask and sometimes face a little rejection ("No.  Sally can't come out today.  She has to finish her homework." Etc.), and then move on.  We learned to get out of our comfort zone and just ask, whether we no the answer will be what we want to hear or not.  We moved.  We got outside and actually walked to our friend's house, and then we played until the streetlights came on, or until our mom's yelled out the front door (no text!).  At what point did we stop making our kids go outside and play?

Here's another phone-y observation: kids don't know how to talk on the phone.  One of my students is old enough to have a girlfriend (and has a lovely, sweet one), but he doesn't call her.  What?  When I was dating my hubby (yes, I know that was 900 years ago), we started dating in the summer and then I went back to college...250 miles away.  We talked on the phone everyday.  I'm actually thankful for that time (even back then I was thankful) because I really got to know him...beyond just his hotness. We chose to talk and learn the nuances of each others voice inflection and to communicate.  I wasn't thankful for the long distance phone bills, though.  Yes, kids, we actually had to pay extra to call someone outside of our town.  Yes, I know I'm sounding really old right now.

Don't get me wrong.  I love texting.  For my scattered mind, it is completely helpful to be able to shoot a quick text to someone in the middle of the day when I'm working on something else.  I love being able to schedule a text to my hair dresser when I know she'll be at her shop when I remember something at 9:30 on Saturday night.  It's fantastic to be able to coordinate with all 12 members of my small group Bible study via one message.  I think it's fabulous to send a quick "I love you" message to my husband or kids in the middle of the day.  (Just to be clear, my 11-year-old doesn't have a cell phone.) I just think something is lost when our kids don't have to answer the phone and not know who it just be polite for politeness' sake.

color: UL crimson red
Do you need this fabulous phone booth expression?  Get it here.

Let's purpose to put the phone down today.  Let's intentionally look each other in the eyes.  Let's talk about body language, and what it says to someone when we stare at a little screen instead of looking at them.  Let's move and go and enjoy the last few weeks of summer before we start into fall.  Life is speeding up.  Enjoy this moment, right now.  It is our life.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

Enter your email in the "Follow by email" box at the end of this post to receive each new post in your inbox.  I always respect your privacy and don't sell or rent your information.  You can also follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.  I'm @JensWallsTalk on all those platforms.  When you follow me there, you'll get to see what crafty, creative projects I'm currently working on.  Thank you for stopping by.

Monday, August 1, 2016

I'm Right Here

I started writing this blog on January 1, 2015--over a year and half ago.  I've logged over 10,000 page views...even from far away countries (which just blows my mind and shows how small the internet makes our world!).  I enjoy it.  I truly do and I pray that in some small way I've made an impact on other people and hopefully I've encouraged or spread an interesting thought or idea.  I've seen several online business owners share their monthly and/or yearly income statements.  It's usually in order to encourage or show proof that what they are doing and teaching works.  Now it's my turn.  Here's how much money I've made blogging: $0.  Zilch.  Nada.  Nothing.  So why do I do it?  A good question indeed.

Writing a blog is like having an extra job...that you don't get paid for.  However, it still has benefits.  I get to sample what it means to truly means to do something only for the love of doing it. That's a determined labor of love.  

To do something just to do it also gives me opportunity to hone my craft. We only get better by doing and practicing.  I thought I was a pretty decent writer when I started blogging, but when I go back now and read some of those posts from the beginning, I cringe a bit. I'm sure I'll do the same thing to my current posts when I read them down the road.

Blogging also gives me an outlet to process my thoughts.  It sounds odd, but I don't know what I'm going to say until I've written it.  I have an idea, but to put words to an idea helps to solidify my thoughts.  

Occasionally, I start to believe it doesn't matter...this whole Jen's Walls Talk blog is just a joke.  It's a silly, narcissistic exercise to stroke the ego of my creative artist's mind.  Then I look at my fridge.  I see a magnet that inspired me to start this whole blogging thing in the first place.  My friend Lynnette gave it to me.  She's a fellow creative minded entrepreneur.  (Pictured below.) At the time of this writing, she hasn't posted much lately (as she is growing some other amazing endeavors), but there are still some nuggets there.


All this is to say that I'm not going anywhere.  I'm here to stay.  I'll keep doing this blogging thing, and eventually I'll pursue the monetary side of it, too.  In the meantime, I'll keep doing it because I like doing it.  I'll keep doing it because I hope that you get something out of it, too.  I'll keep refining, and growing, and learning, and speaking my voice.

Make it a beautiful day, friends.

If you like what you read here at my Jen's Walls Talk blog, I'd love for you to subscribe simply by entering your email in the "Follow by email" box at the end of this post.  If you'd like to see snippets of the other creative ventures I'm working on, then pop over to Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook (@JensWallsTalk) and follow me there, too.  Thanks for visiting.

Follow by Email