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Three Things: August

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Due to lack of recent posts, I have, unfortunately, missed out on sharing my “Three Things” with you for the past few months. It was way back in May when I last posted my monthly goals. They were:

  • get a bike
  • plant a garden
  • create a new recipe

How’d I do with those? Well, I did get a bike (thanks to my awesome sister-in-law), but I’ve only ridden it twice. It’s been too hot and humid for me to tolerate being outside for much longer than I have to for work and farm chores. Bad reasoning excuse, I know, but I’m looking forward to fall, cooler days and long bike rides to make up for lost time!!

We didn’t get around to planting a garden, but we did find a good spot for one next year. I’m admittedly not quite as good at keeping plants alive as I am at keeping animals alive, but we’ll give it a shot then, with some hardy and easy-to-grow crops and see if they can stand up to my very black thumb.

I did create a new recipe — Pickle Dip — which I’ve made at least three times for events this summer and each and every time, it’s been a huge hit! People love this stuff! If you haven’t given it a try yet, check it out. It’s super simple to make, too, and almost impossible to mess up!

This month, I’m planning on working on the following:

  • do at least three things for myself
  • work on my book
  • limit my (non-work-related) social media usage

Wish me luck and keep me on track, guys!

What goals do you have for the month ahead?



Here’s Your Sign

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Have you ever needed a sign from God/the Universe/Fate/whatever you believe in?

I certainly have and this week, I got two of them.

Late Sunday night, I received a Facebook message from a friend of a friend. She’s an animal activist and had participated in a protest earlier that day at a live poultry market in Philly. She managed to save a chicken and wanted to know if we could take her and let her live here at our farm. Of course, I wanted to tell her yes, we could, but inside, I had reservations. This is what I’ve wanted to do all my life — rescue animals — but I still didn’t feel ready. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed about how this whole rescue thing was going to work out and how we’d deal with it — physically, financially and emotionally. I told her I’d have to talk it over with my husband and promised to get back to her in the morning.

Fast forward to the next morning: Anthony walked in the door after his shift and the first thing he says to me is, “Guess what I got stuck driving behind today?”

“A school bus? Garbage truck?,” I guessed.

“No,” he said. “Our worst nightmare.” And my heart sank as he told me about the truckload of chickens that he drove behind for a while until he helplessly watched it pull into a processing plant.

There it was. My sign.

It didn’t matter that we weren’t 100% ready for her — that chicken was meant to be with us! I contacted her rescuer and we arranged to get her here. She arrived that night and soon after, my second sign did, too.

Lovely miss Anfisa!

Lovely miss Anfisa!

This morning I woke up before the sun had even risen. I had a job interview scheduled for 7am and a full day of dog walking after that. Waking up with a major headache should have been my first indication that things were going a bit awry. I took care of all the animals, including our new addition, Anfisa (which means “flower” in Russian), and got myself ready to go. I looked at the clock and cursed as I realized I was running a little late and still had to stop for gas on the way. I loaded up my hands with everything I’d need for the day and out the door I went. Minus my keys. Yep. Locked out with no car keys to get me anywhere.


Anthony wasn’t home, no one close had a key and I didn’t have a spare hidden anywhere in case of an emergency. After losing it for a second, I composed myself and marched right out to the chicken coop, climbed in and sat and chatted with Anfisa until Anthony was able to come let me back in the house. I missed my interview, but you know what, it wasn’t the end of the world. I was able to reschedule. So my morning was crappy — big whoop. It happens. I was able to spend some precious bonding time with Anfisa and I took the events of this morning as a sign that no matter the feelings I’ve been experiencing lately, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be right now.

So, my message to you is this: try not to worry so much and stop trying to figure everything out. Things have an uncanny way of working themselves out in our favor.

Oh, and always be open to the signs that are sent your way!

Do you believe in signs?

1 Comment


It’s been a whirlwind of a few weeks, and I still can’t fully grasp it, but WE BOUGHT A FARM!!! We still have a ton of unpacking to do and a lot of prep work outside to get ready to welcome some rescue animals, but we’re on our way! My dream is unfolding before my very eyes and I feel so, so blessed.

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Yes, that’s a skeleton key!

Now that the worst of the move is over (seriously — packing is the Worst. Thing. Ever! Well, to me, at least!), I’ll try to post a little more often and I’ll be sure to include updates on the progress of the farm!

Have a beautiful Sunday, everyone, and remember to always, always chase your dreams!

jena dreams


Inspirational Ish

I have some freaking amazing news to share!

My life is about to change completely.

No, we’re not having a kid; WE’RE BUYING A FARM!!!!!!!!!! 

I kind of just want to shout it from the rooftops (well, not literally — I’m pretty terrified of heights!) and tell the world. “Hey world, we’re buying a farm!! It’s only been my dream for about forever and it’s finally, finally coming true! Do you hear that world? MY DREAM IS COMING TRUE!!!”

Would strangers care about my announcement? Probably not. And that’s okay. But what I really wish I could get into people’s heads is that last part. That dreams really do come true. They are for me and they can for you. I absolutely hate that people give up on their dreams so easily. Sure, they take a lot of work and you may have to wait what seems like forever to reach them, but they’re worth it. They’re so worth it.

Since I’m feeling uber inspirational lately (and too excited/distracted/busy to actually sit down and write a “real” post), I figured I’d share some of my favorite inspirational things. They’re little tidbits I’ve come across and have saved, printed out or just pondered over at one point or another. They’ve spoken to me and I hope that some of them speak to you, as well.

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Not my hand, by the way. Thinking I want a thumb ring now, though. Isn’t it cute?!

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My favorite at the moment.

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All. The. Time.

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Imagine what the world would be like if more people took this one to heart.

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Oh, and if you want to know original sources, I have no clue. (I know, I know — I’m breaking a cardinal rule of blogging!). Just about all of these were pulled from Facebook … and who knows how stuff ends up there!?

What’s your favorite inspirational quote?


Three Things: New Year’s Edition

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Happy 2015!! I hope your holidays were full of happiness, love and laughter.

January 1, 2015 marked a new chapter in each of our lives; a blank slate; a chance to begin anew.

Although I’ve never really been one for making resolutions, I have really been enjoying my monthly goal-setting initiatives, so I’m going to continue doing so into the new year. As we roll into 2015, though, there are three specific things I’d like to try to focus on in 364 days ahead — my ‘resolutions,’ if you will:

  • eat cleaner
  • write more
  • bump up my activism

Whether or not you made a resolution this year, I invite you to share your own goals for the month or the year ahead in the comments. I think it’s important to always maintain a list of goals and I believe that it’s one of the best ways to ensure continual personal growth. I can tell you from experience, that when you share your goals with others, you’re much more likely to stick with them and see them through. And remember to always strive for progress, not perfection. We are all works in progress and need time to evolve into the best versions of ourselves!

Happy New Year, everyone! May 2015 be the best year, yet!

P.S. — If you’re hoping to dip your toes in the vegan waters this year, or maybe you just want to eat fewer animal-based products, check out the awesome vegan resource round-up that Melissa from It’s Got Vegan In It put together. Her list takes a lot of the guesswork and mystery out of the vegan equation.


Friday Faves: The Little Red Mailbox

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North Carolina’s Outer Banks is a special place and one that I’ve visited several times. It’s home to a herd of beautiful, free-roaming wild horses (let’s make sure they stay that way!), it’s where I spotted a bald eagle in the wild for the first time and the star-specked nighttime sky as viewed from the beach may literally take your breath away (it did, mine) — it looks like something straight out of the pages of National Geographic.

It’s also home to The Little Red Mailbox.

The Little Red Mailbox was placed along the beach access at Glenmere Beach in Kill Devil Hills this summer by resident Sue Goodrich. Goodrich, who found solace by the sea when her mother passed away, hopes that the mailbox and its contents — a journal and pens — will help others to find that same peace. “It’s a place to share your thoughts, dreams, feelings or secrets or to just visit what others have left along their journey,” she says. “Everybody needs a little hope, and helping others also helps ourselves,” she says.

To say that I love this idea would be an understatement. I wish there could be a Little Red Mailbox in every town around the globe. This world so needs it.

Life is the craziest ride we’ll ever embark on. It can be wonderful and beautiful and happy, but at times, it can be incredibly lonely, scary and downright tough. When life gets you down, though, sometimes all it takes is a snippet or two of wisdom, a little note of hope, to keep you going and get you through the tough stuff. That’s what The Little Red Mailbox does. That’s what we all need to do.

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The first entry, penned by Goodrich herself.

If you don’t live in or near the Outer Banks, you can still be a part of this wonderful movement to spread hope and happiness. Send a note to the following address and it will be added to the notebook inside the mailbox:

little red mailbox

Here’s my note, all ready to go:

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Please take the notion of The Little Red Mailbox to heart. Everyone we encounter on a daily basis is fighting their own battles — some publicly and some privately — and all could benefit from a little extra kindness, love and hope. It’s up to us to spread it.

Much love and happiness, my friends.


Friday Faves: Hug Wraps

You know the old adage, ‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade’? Well, Brenda Jones is a woman who definitely took that notion to heart and is changing the world, one Hug Wrap at a time.

Facing the frightening diagnosis of breast cancer in 2008, Brenda turned her own despair and uncertainty into hope for others with her creative alternative to the traditional, drab hospital gown, in the form of her handmade, adorable and super cozy Hug Wraps.

The old gowns “take away patients’ dignity, respect, comfort; it strips them of everything,” says Brenda, of Southampton, New Jersey. “But when you put on a Hug Wrap, you put on a smile.”

Each Hug Wrap is handcrafted by Brenda and her mission is a simple one: to make sure that every person facing cancer receives a Hug Wrap to know that they are loved and supported throughout their journey toward wellness. To date, more than 1,000 Hug Wraps have been distributed to cancer patients all around the world, each arriving to its recipient with a touching, hand-written note from Brenda — a special sentiment that, undoubtedly, makes a world of difference to those facing the fight of their life.

I have been personally touched by cancer, as I’m sure many of you also have been. My mother is a survivor and I have grandparents who have battled the disease, as well as a very courageous and inspirational classmate who faced breast cancer at 24 years of age and is now cancer-free! I hope to never, ever hear the words “You have cancer,” but I’m so thankful that Brenda and her Hug Wraps are there for those who do.

Please reach out to Brenda to let her know that you think she’s awesome and, if you are able to, support her initiative to make sure that every cancer patient has a Hug Wrap. She’s on Facebook and Twitter and she is hoping to get Hug Wraps featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You can tweet in support of that goal using  or contact the show, directly, to let them know that Brenda and her Hug Wraps rock!

If you know someone who is currently facing cancer, why not gift them a Hug Wrap to let them know that they are surrounded with hugs, love and support?

Thank you, Brenda, for your dedication to bringing a little more comfort, style and hope to those battling cancer. The world needs more people like you!!