I am a woman with Good Intentions – but unfortunately – my character is still developing. I love helping others and I love being connected to others – but I don’t always love following through. I am wise enough to know that perfection is an illusion, but humble enough to know – I really need to step up my game in keeping my word. Some days I get it right, and some days I get it horribly wrong – and that is ok – the journey is messy.
Two weeks ago, I dropped the ball – and when it fell – it injured a friendship of over 25 years. In my heart I know that one day this friendship will be repaired, but until then, I need to accept accountability for my actions – or in this case – my lack of actions. However, failing is part of the process. Through the grace of God when we make big mistakes – we have an opportunity to learn big lessons.
And although I regret the distress that I caused my friend, the lesson I learned helped me get it right yesterday…..
I bring Eucharist to my local hospital 2 x per month. Yesterday, it was my turn. But yesterday, was a very busy day for me. It was 4:50pm – and I knew that I had to make a decision – go to the 5 pm mass and then visit the hospital – or skip it and go home and rest.
To be perfectly honest, if I hadn’t just hurt a friendship because of my poor follow through – and had it not been Palm Sunday – by all means I would have dropped the ball. That is disgusting to admit – but it is the truth. Thankfully, the holy spirit (mixed in with some good old fashion catholic guilt) pushed me to show up.
When I arrived at the hospital the man in room 218 appeared to be sleeping. Normally, I don’t wake sleeping patients. But as I went to walk away I felt a tug at my heart. I turned around and just said his name… The man slowly opened his eyes… I began to introduce myself and asked if he would like to receive communion. He responded with a simple – “I have been waiting for you”. At that moment – I truly looked at the man. His body was covered in soars. The tray in front of him was covered with religious books. Then I noticed his hands, in his hands he was grasping a set of rosary beads. Then I realized, when I came in he was not sleeping – he was praying. The man gratefully received eucharist and thanked me for coming. I lingered a bit (out of guilt, because I knew I almost didn’t make it here) and then I asked him how long his stay in the hospital will be, he responded that he will be going home soon. We said our goodbyes and I walked to the elevators. One of the women at the nurse’s station came over to me. She wanted to confirm that I made it to room 218. I said yes and she let out a sigh of relief. Apparently, the man had been waiting for communion all day. As I walked out of the hospital, I felt sick to my stomach. The negative thoughts began to pop up in my mind. “You suck. This man could have literally died and never received communion because you are a fucking slacker.” I have trained myself enough to know that thoughts like that only drain your joy. I have trained myself enough to know that thoughts like this are not from God. So I got in my car and prayed for the man in room 218…. Then I smiled because today I got it right, but then I prayed to have the strength to try to get it right again tomorrow.
Note to self: In order to improve in my ability to keep my word I have to:
- Say “no” more often, and in general, improve my ability to set limits and protect my own time and needs to replenish my soul.
- Improve on my ability to balance and manage my time.
- Practice proper self-care so that I have the energy to keep the commitments that I make.
- Always pray to have my blind spots illuminated – so that I may humbly improve my character – one day at a time – but always remembering to do this with loving kindness towards myself. (I need to strive to be disciplined and self-loving – not guilt stricken and self-hating).
This is a sponsored post, but all opinions and words are my own!
It’s March, which means it’s officially time to start searching for a Summer Camp! With literally thousands of options, it’s easy to be overwhelmed – but take a deep breath – and read on….
I just researched a dozen local day camps in order to find the perfect camp for my boys. In the end, I selected Squire Day Camp, (located in Westchester, NY) and I am confident that my boys are going to have an AMAZING Summer! Here are the top 5 areas that I examined on my hunt to pick the perfect camp:
By far the most important camp selection criteria is – STAFFING!
My boys are 7 & 8, and I wanted to ensure that this summer they attend a day camp where they would constantly be engaged and cared for by professional educators. Also, I wanted to ensure that these educators also had years of experience in the camping industry – because after all – camp and school are two totally different environments! This was one of the main reasons I chose Squire Day Camp, 98% of their staff are professional educators, parents, and have decades of summer camp experience!
2. Staffing Ratios & Maximum Group Size
You can have the best camp counselors in the world, but if the staff ratios and groups are too big you are in trouble! As long as your camp has a 1 to 6 staff ratio and an average group size of 16-18 you are in the clear. Thankfully, Squire Day Camp has a 1 to 5 ratio and an average group size of 8-10!
3. The Safety Of The Camp’s Swimming Program
A child can drown in 20 Seconds. Therefore, you must make sure that the camp has highly-trained Red Cross Water Safety Instructors. Success in learning to swim depends on a child’s comfort and security level as well as the quality of the teaching.
4. The quality of the camp’s daily programming
I have one son who loves sports and science and another son who loves playing outdoors and art – so I needed to find a camp with a wide array of enriched and diverse options! Also, I wanted to be sure that my boys have plenty of times outdoors, but I also want them to have time to cool off and calm down indoors as well. Luckily, Squire has over 60 amazing outdoor/indoor activities that range from traditional day camp activities like swimming, sports, wood shop, and archery to some really cool out of the box classes like Robotics, 3D-Printing, Junior Cake Boss, and Fashion Design!
Finally, price is always an important factor to consider when selecting a camp. In NY, the cost of camp ranges from less than $1,000 to over $10,000 for the summer! For better or worse – you usually get what you pay for – so choose wisely! A great way to save money without out having to sacrifice quality is to select a camp that rents their space for the summer. Why? Day Camps who own their own campuses have huge overhead expenses, so a higher ticket price does not always equate to a higher quality camp experience
If you live in or near Westchester, NY you should stop by the Camp Squire’s Open House this Saturday March 12th from 1 to 4. For more information visit:http://www.squirecamps.com
What is the most powerful and universally effective parenting tool?
I am a life coach who specializes in supporting women, entrepreneurs, parents, and individuals with ADHD. When I am working with a client who wants to improve his or her effectiveness as parent, I will often help my clients create and implement various parenting tools, strategies, and support systems. However, parenting is a long slow messy journey. There is no one size fits all approach in parenting. Over the years, parents will develop and adjust their own unique parenting style to address the ever-changing needs of their unique and always developing child.
However, there is one exception to this rule. There is one parenting tool that should always remain on your parenting tool belt. It’s the single parenting tool that is universally effective. It is the tool that I always reach for first when accessing my parenting tool belt. What is this magical parenting weapon? It is the power of prayer!
Pray all the time. When your child does something well, pray in thanks for God’s blessings. When your child is struggling in an area, don’t worry, simply put the right supports in place and PRAY! When your child is facing a challenge that is so overwhelming, you don’t even know where to begin, give it to God. It will take time, the journey will be bumpy, but God will get you there!
Happy Monday Everyone!
In many of my recent coaching sessions, my clients and I have been discussing ways to live more joyfully in 2016. A common theme has emerged, especially with my clients who cope with adult ADHD:
If you want to truly have a happy new year – learn to be gentle with yourself… After all, you are doing the best you can!
Here is a personal story that demonstrates this important life lesson in action:
This past Christmas season, I made it a point to boycott the holiday hustle. Instead of long lines and endless to-do lists, I chose to do less and enjoy small moments with my family. It was wonderful!!! However, when you make a decision to simplify your life, it means that you have to accept that you can’t do EVERYTHING. So in the spirit of savoring the true meaning for the season, I chose to let many of the market driven traditions fall by the waist side. Most went by unmissed, but there was one unfortunate hiccup in my planning ….. I ordered my Christmas Cards too late, and to my disappointment, they arrived on Christmas Eve.
I could have chosen to beat myself up over this. My old self would have ruminated for weeks over what a slacker mom I was. But this time around I chose to be gentle on myself. Instead of wasting my precious mental energy on negative self-talk, I used my brainpower to think out of the box. I took a trip to Michael’s Craft Store and turned my Christmas Cards into New Years Cards! So today, three weeks into the New Year, I sat with a warm cup of tea and some soft music, and I happily repurposed over 75 cards. Why am I choosing to share this story? After all, many of my friends and family who will read this post will soon be receiving one of my recycled treasures… Why should I give my secret away?
Because – I want to reiterate the importance of understanding that perfection does not exist. In the end all you can do is your best – and whatever your best looks like – that is good enough. If you want to truly have a happy new year – learn to be gentle with yourself.
To schedule a complimentary Life or ADHD Coaching session send an email to: JourneyWithJenG@Gmail.Com
My husband and I used to bicker all the time. We would bicker over big things. We would bicker over small things. We even bickered over how much we bickered. As the bickering increased our joy as a married couple decreased. I can remember thinking:
“If only my husband would do this – or change that – then we could finally get along.”
Luckily, I grew up.
I finally accepted that I too play a major role in our bickering. From that point on, I stopped wasting all of my energy on trying to change my husband’s behavior. Instead, I began to focus my energies on changing my own behavior!
As I became more and more self-aware, I saw that 90% of our arguments occurred because both of us wanted to be right. This realization was life changing. From that moment on I made a choice, I decided that I wanted a peaceful marriage more than I wanted to be right.
I have to emphasize that this personal change was a HARD and SLOW process. In the beginning, it took all the self-control I had to restrain myself from spitting out my sarcastic comebacks. I literally had to bite my lip and take deep breathes to overcome my urge to highlight the flaws in my husband’s reasoning. During some disagreements, I could literally feel the anger pulsating through my body. Sometimes the only way I could overcome my desire to have the last word was to mentally chant over and over again: peace is greater than winning, peace is greater than winning!
I HATED having to learn how to swallow my pride. But overtime, a funny thing happened… the less I held onto my need to be right, the more my husband let go of his. And with practice, my newly found preference for peace became easier to implement.
After months of hard work, the bickering began to slow down. For the first time ever, our home was filled with the sounds of laughter, love, and joy. Today, do I have the perfect marriage? No, but it is way more peaceful and more joyful than ever before. Perfection does not exist, but miraculous progress is possible!
My name in Jen Gentile, and I’m a recovered chronic worrier.
Years ago, I wrongly believed that if I could identify all the possible negative outcomes – I would be able to control the external world around me. Through many hard knock lessons of life, I now know that’s impossible. In life, all we can control is our thoughts and our reactions. Historically, my favorite personal mantra was: “Hope for the best, and plan for the worst”. That’s great advice for large scale disaster planning, but not for everyday life. If you are always so busy anticipating the worst, you have no mental space left to actually be hopeful!
The only thing that worrying about the future does is steal the joy of the present moment. I now realize that my “planning for the worst approach” was nothing more than a destructive cycle of negative mental rumination. Furthermore, what you think about grows. Therefore:
I am a woman of faith. Today, when I feel the urge to worry, instead, I pray. Prayer allows me to channel my nervous mental energy into something that can actually bring me a positive outcome. And more importantly, prayer allows me to cultivate a deeper friendship with God.
“Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”
In the past, every time I was stressed, I used to call my mother or my best friends and just ruminate over and over again on the negative. This approach never made me feel better; it only made me feel worse. Today, instead of picking up the phone, I pick up my bible. For those of you who are not spiritual, the next time you feel like worrying try to “Hunt For The Good”. Focus your energy on visualizing the best possible outcome – not the worst! Again, what you pay attention to grows, so if you have to ruminate on something – at least make it positive!
Spiritual Tip of The Day: Worry Less; Pray More!
Be fueled by hope, not by worry!
When I am coaching a client who wants to create a happier and more fulfilling life, we spend a great deal of time discussing the power of our thoughts.
I believe there is a powerful correlation between the quality of our thoughts and the quantity of our joy.
I help my clients begin to slow down and pay attention to their inner dialogues. In most of us, our inner thoughts usually can be broken up into three types: positive, negative, and neutral. In life, what you pay attention to – grows.
Therefore, inner peace is obtained by consciously choosing to pay more attention to positive thoughts.
One of my yogi clients defines her inner dialogue as the conversation between her spirit and her ego. Another client labels her positive voice as her true essence and her negative voice as her saboteur. I tend to describe the thoughts that occur within the battlefield of my mind as: the voice of God versus the whisper of the Devil. Whatever you name this inner dialogue – does not matter – what does matter – is that you are aware that this inner dialogue occurs. And that you have a choice to select which thoughts you follow and which ones you ignore.
In order to live a more joyful life – you need to begin to become aware of your thoughts. After all:
You can’t change what you do not notice.
In my daily life, I frequently use the below list to help me discern which thoughts to develop and which thoughts to dismiss. I hope this list helps you too!
To schedule a complimentary risk free trial coaching session simply email me at JourneyWithJenG@Gmail.com. Happy New Year Everyone!
Five years ago, I lost my sparkle. Poor self-care, fulltime work, adult ADHD, and special needs parenting finally caught up to me. Inevitably, my hectic, anxious, distracted, over-scheduled, and unfulfilling life drained my joy! Until one morning, I woke up and simply decided that I wanted my sparkle back!
Slowly, I began a transformative journey. Despite my challenging life circumstances and a mountain of unmet expectations, I gave myself permission to rewrite my story! Today, I am living the life of my dreams! Does this mean everything is perfect? Perfection is an illusion. Instead, today my life is perfectly imperfect! Today, I am more resilient, more accepting, more forgiving, more focused, more productive, more faithful, more loving, and more joyful!
In 2016 – let’s sparkle together! After all, if I can get my joy back, you can too! Email me at JourneyWithJenG@Gmail.Com to schedule a complimentary 45-minute transformational life & ADHD coaching session. You have nothing to lose, and so much joy & sparkle to gain!
Offer expires midnight 12/31/2015
Every January 1st, so many people commit to a list of hopeful New Years Resolutions, only to forget about them by February 2nd. This year, instead of making a list of promises you won’t follow – try investing in you! The most important investment you will ever make is the one you make in your own personal development. Unlike other investments, when you invest in yourself there are no risks, only rewards. So what are you waiting for – the right time? The perfect moment is an illusion. There will always be something that will prevent you from doing something else. You just have to prioritize you. Make 2016 the year that you finally prioritize your dreams! Einstein wisely said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them. ” Begin 2016 with the support of a professional life coach to help you design, plan, & achieve the truly fulfilling and successful life you deserve! To schedule a complimentary trial coaching session email me today at JourneyWithJenG@Gmail.com – you have nothing to loss and everything to gain!