Friday, June 20, 2014

It Takes a Village to Raise a Jenn

Apparently it takes a village to raise a Jenn, was the random thought to cross my mind yesterday with a chuckle. Don’t you love it when you amuse yourself and there’s no one around to see how funny you are? Am I the only one that happens to? No, I’m positive my sister, Alisha, cracks herself up on a regular basis.

But after I stopped laughing at my own version of the famous quote, I realized the truth peeking out from inside my play on words.

Yesterday the thought was inspired by my preparation for the fantastic She Speaks Conference coming in just a month. I’d had my first pre-conference training to help me make sure I had all my ducks in a row to present my book ideas to publishers. I came away from it invigorated, encouraged, and looking at a boat-load of homework to make sure I knocked their socks off.

The amazing presenter, author Glynnis Whitwer, was so calm. Her job was to tell us what was included in a one-sheet—a single sheet of paper created to grab the attention of a publisher or agent with who you are and what your book is about. She went above and beyond that simple description with encouraging tips about networking and what NOT to do. Oh please save us from ourselves, I thought. It was such a worthwhile use of my time, energy, and the small fee.

One item on my to-do list was to find a good, professional-looking picture of myself to use on my business cards and my one-sheet. Ok. I’ve got a bunch of pictures. I found what I thought was the best and was soundly shot down by my sisters. Too dark. Not professional enough. Got anything else? Gotta love how direct sisters can be with you.

So off I went to Facebook to see if any of my amateur or professional photographer friends had time. Kendrea stepped forward with a generous offer for a location shoot at an amazing price. Her professional talent has long made me smile. She’s one of the fantastic women I met in my many years in MOPS. My friend Tanya agreed to help me create a graphically fantastic one-sheet. Two photographer professionals offering to help out.

Then there was my hair. I have it perfectly planned out exactly how long before She Speaks to get my stylist Shayla to give me a killer color and style so that it looks amazing. This was not now. Now I have in-between hair. Thankfully Shayla could trim my bangs today.

Now what to wear? My friend Jaime has offered to take me shopping before the conference to help me. Oh do I need help. I’m, shall we say, “fashion challenged.” I don’t know how to layer or accessorize well and don’t get me started on what I think looks flattering vs. reality. But I am aware of my limitations. I know I need the help. However we hadn’t gone shopping yet.

So I started sending Jaime and our friend Jenny (who was with her at the pool) pics of myself in what I had to work with. The joys of smart phones. Then I included Alisha. Between them and the responses from my boys, we found something we could work with. Kendrea even chimed in with a few more suggestions.

I met Kendrea on the edge of town to head to a beautiful location in the Hills. She posed me in ways a yoga master would have been proud of to get just the right angles. I think I may be able to call that an extra work out this week.

But as I look back at this day, I realized that yet again, my vast circle of friends had come to my aid to help me when I needed it. It has taken a village to raise a Jenn—to raise me out of grief and help me smile. To raise me out of fear and care for my needs. To raise me out of feeling alone and make me feel loved and supported and prayed for and lifted up.

So thanks to my “village people.” You are many and you are diverse. You come from a variety of denominations and churches. You come from my past and my present. You range in age from young to well, let’s just stop right there. You are the village that God is using to help me continue and thrive in the new journey He’s set before me. You are His people in action helping this widow turn mourning into dancing.

Yesterday it took a village to raise a Jenn and I’m unbelievably thankful for that.

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