LFM #25 - Jeni on Morning Rituals, Music, and Different Perspectives

I’m so fortunate to know the many people I do. I’ve been alive for 31 years thus far; and life has a way of surprising me with the perfect people at the perfect time. Jeni is one such delightful person. While we’ve known each other several years (she’s my father-in-law’s cousin), we don’t often get the chance to spend much time together, living in different states. After a last-minute invite to another cousin’s home, we got together and listening to her stories, I let her know I’d love to feature her routine and inspiration on the blog. She sent me the following letter back; and while I normally interview women for the blog, and write the stories in that way, her letter was so beautiful I just wanted to share it, straight. Enjoy: 

It is 3 a.m. All is dark. The soft acoustic prelude to “Stairway to Heaven” begins to play on my iPhone. My first cognitive inhalation is filled with the rich aroma of coffee brewing. I gently rise, slowly reaching my arms to the heavens and whisper a “thank you” for another day.

About 10 years ago, my husband and I started this morning ritual: we would sit in front of the fireplace, in silent meditation, and prepare our thoughts for the day ahead. The soft flickering of the flames, the delicious smell and taste of coffee, the sound of birds singing, and the light touch of the love of my life next to me, all fills my heart with gratitude.

We have a light meal to rev up our metabolism and then head for the gym. Our mind, body and spirit are in balance, and we are prepared for whatever the day brings us.

I was introduced to yoga eight years ago, when we moved to Salt Lake City. I wish I had known about it years ago when I was regularly singing; there are so many benefits of yoga! It increases the blood flow throughout the body; it lowers stress levels and blood pressure; it helps with balance; it regulates the thyroid and it also helps with memory recall. Presently, my morning workouts incorporate 40 minutes of cardio, 20 minutes of light weights, focusing on one body part per day and then following with some yoga poses that help with flexibility. 

Music inspires me to get things accomplished. Meditational music inspires me to pray for others, myself, and give honor to my God. Classical music inspires me to read. Give me some upbeat sounds, and I can deep clean my home in one hour!

My grandchildren inspire me to be childlike and play. My yoga practice has taught me to live in the moment and has given me flexibility to be able to get down on the floor and see the world the way they see it.

 My children inspire me to look at life with a different perspective. I am amazed at what I am learning from their bright minds. We are not just parent to child anymore, but rather friend to friend.

My adoring and handsome husband inspires me to be the best I can be for myself, which allows me to be the best for him and others that come across my path. We are celebrating 36 years together. I do not take this for granted.

Who would’ve thought a small town Midwestern girl would go off to college with a full scholarship in vocal performance in the Blue  Ridge Mountains of Virginia; meet the love of her life; marry; bare three beautiful children; migrate to Montgomery Alabama, and enjoy the sands of the Gulf for 20 years, and for the past eight years, live in Salt Lake City, Utah; hiking the Wasatch Mountains? Not me; and yet I am that girl!

 I’m not sure why some of us choose a positive outlook on life, and others do not, but I am thankful that my mind tends to seek the good. Maybe it is because I am “the baby” of the family and everyone protected me and did everything for me. Maybe, it is because my father was always whistling while he worked and always had a spring to his step. All I know is, my family and my faith were and are the most valuable security to this unstable, yet beautiful world I am living in.

I was very shy as a little girl. I did not want attention drawn to me. Our family moved approximately every three years, which meant that I was perpetually “the new girl” in my class. I was also the preacher’s kid and to top it off, I am a redhead! I had to make a choice to either become withdrawn or come out of my shell and make friends. What a wonderful lesson I took in and practiced all of my life. I am so blessed to have dear friends spread throughout the nation.

In the last two years, my husband and I have downsized from a four bedroom, 3,000 square-foot house  to a two-bedroom apartment in downtown Salt Lake City. I think because I have moved around so much in my life, I’ve become comfortable with change. We have had so much fun walking to different coffee shops and going to the farmers’ market every Saturday morning. It is a wonderful experience for us.

I’m not sure what the next chapter in my life will be, but there is a song I used to sing with words that are very special to me. I hope to live by the following words:

“This day is fragile, soon it will end, 

and once it has vanished, it will not come again. 

So let us love, with a love pure and strong, 

before this day is gone. 

This day is fleeting, when it slips away, 

not all our money can buy back this day. 

So let us pray, that we might be a friend,

 before this day is spent. 

This day we’re given is golden.

 Let us show love.

 This day is ours for one moment. 

Let us sow love. 

This day is frail, it will pass by.

So before it’s too late to recapture the time,

let us share love, 

let us share God, 

before this day is gone.” 

The light that is within me honors the light that is within you.

Have a blessed day,

Jeni 

And there you have it. I feel more at ease with my morning just reading through it, don’t you? You can connect with Jeni on Facebook.  

I am thankful that my mind tends to seek the good... All I know is, my family and my faith were and are the most valuable security to this unstable, yet beautiful world I am living in.
— Jeni Westervelt