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Take Responsibility

I have decided that my favorite thing to do is write a positive, motivational post at the beginning of the week. It feels good to start the week out with energy, positivity and a reminder of all the good and happy things that we have to be grateful for.

I wasn’t sure if I should share this for many reasons that I won’t get into but on Friday afternoon one of my sorority sisters was shot and killed in Atlanta. Here is a link to the story with all the details. It was a random crime in a busy parking deck in the middle of the day. Unimaginable. The point of me sharing this is not to make you sad but to honor the memory of a beautiful woman and to send strength to her family, husband and friends.

She was two years younger than me and we were not close friends but this news still came as a shock and weighed heavy on my mind throughout the weekend. Last week I got a bit of (much-needed!) wake-up call in regards to achieving goals. On Saturday I Tweeted, “My current mantra on repeat…stop showing fear and go get it. Making things happen.” Because really, what am I waiting for?

I received a response to my Tweet from Lexy at Fire Meets Fire who linked back to a video post she just did about taking 100% responsibility for your life. The message was incredible. It’s from Jack Canfield.

Everything about you is a result of your doing or not doing… Your income. Debt. Relationships. Health. Fitness level. Attitudes and behaviors.

I’ve often said that you are either creating or allowing everything that is happening in your life.

I think everyone knows this in their hearts, but often times people convince themselves into thinking that external factors are the source of their failure, disappointment, and unhappiness.

External factors do not determine how you live. YOU are in complete control of the quality of your life, by either creating or allowing the circumstances you experience.


I shared this with my yoga class at the beginning of their practice this morning and was nearly in tears as I took them through the start of class. I hope that this message speaks to you in some way. I thought it was wonderful.

Pretty heavy stuff for PBR, huh? Sorry guys. Again, I’m not trying to make you sad but rather remind you to take control of the life you live and GO GET IT.

Annnnnd back to our regularly scheduled programming!

Brandon and I made brunch when I got home from teaching. I made the biscuits while Brandon whipped up a batch of his perfect scrambled eggs. (Can I just mention again how thankful I am to have a husband who likes to cook?)

A peach and sliced Cherokee Purple tomato from the farmer’s market on the side. I really don’t think that it gets better than a homegrown tomato and a flavorful peach. Summer is definitely my favorite season for eating.

Guess who got a bath today!?

While she loves to swim, Sullie is SO not a fan of baths. Especially when I do them outside and spray her with the hose. She pretty much looks at me with the most pitiful eyes ever and acts like I’m torturing her.

She goes CRAZY after baths. I really need to take a video! I did get her out on the front steps to take some pictures of her cuteness after she ran puppy circles around the house. πŸ˜‰

Brandon actually suggested a vegetarian dinner tonight! He said he was in the mood for Indian so I cooked a batch of Chana Masala. It’s so easy but so delicious, filling and healthy. I served it over brown rice with naan.

I also admit that Brandon talked me into dessert so I baked a batch of white chocolate toffee blondies. This is my first time making this recipe. If it turns out well, I’ll be sharing it. Now…must go taste test!

Have a great week! Take responsibility for your life and GO GET IT!!!!!

{ 71 comments… add one }
  • Jenn July 17, 2011, 9:52 pm

    Thank you so much. I need this inspiration.
    I am very sorry for your loss and will be sending healing thoughts to your sorority sisters family.
    Be well.

    • Jen July 18, 2011, 11:58 am

      thank you jenn. i’m glad that you got some inspiration from the words. i certainly did. have a good week.

  • Heather July 17, 2011, 9:53 pm

    That is heartbreaking about your friend.

    Her friends & family are in my thoughts at this difficult time.

    And thank you for posting the inspirational message. That is something really awesome to keep in mind!

    • Jen July 18, 2011, 11:59 am

      thank you heather. i’m glad you found the message to be inspirational.

  • Matt @ The Athlete's Plate July 17, 2011, 9:54 pm

    Thanks for the heart filled post! I really needed it πŸ™‚

    • Jen July 18, 2011, 12:00 pm

      thanks matt. i think you have really personified taking control of your life recently. so excited for your new job and new adventures. you are awesome!

  • Bess @ Bess Be Fit July 17, 2011, 10:27 pm

    So sorry about your friend πŸ™ I will keep her family in my thoughts and prayers! Thanks for such a positive message though. I love reading your blog so much and its real…so don’t apologize if moments are sad. Its your blog and you can express any emotion you feel! Happy, sad, angry, whatever it is. The beautiful thing about the blog world is that your loyal readers (/friends!) support you. Have a great week!

    • Jen July 18, 2011, 12:02 pm

      bess – thank you for your comment and for your kind words about my blog. i don’t know why i still struggle the most with these types of posts but once i post them i am always grateful that i went with my gut and did. i can’t even believe how supportive my readers and the blogging community are. it’s pretty incredible. we have a strong network.

      hope you have a good week too!

  • Krista (kristastes) July 17, 2011, 10:47 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about your sorority sister. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends (and YOU!) The he take responsibility of your life statements are amazing and so true. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Jen July 18, 2011, 12:02 pm

      thank you krista – happy that the words resonated with you!

  • Ginger July 17, 2011, 11:14 pm

    Very sorry to hear about the tragic loss of your friend. My prayers are with her husband, family and you!

  • Alaina July 17, 2011, 11:29 pm

    I am so so sorry about your sorority sister. All my thoughts and prayers to her family.

    Thank you for such an uplifting post. I used to be in the mindset that things just happened to me; I was never one to think that I could take control of my life. Now, I most certainly do.

    • Jen July 18, 2011, 11:57 am

      thanks alaina. i loved reading about your take on life when you did your guest post for me. i’m so happy to hear that you are more in control of your life and your happiness. xoxo.

  • Tracy July 18, 2011, 6:52 am

    I heard about this shooting on Friday, and had no idea it was Brittany. I am so sorry for your loss, that is so cruel and unfair.

    Love the post Jen. You are right on!


    • Jen July 18, 2011, 11:56 am

      thank you tracy. glad that you enjoyed the post.

  • Sarah July 18, 2011, 8:09 am

    Jen you are one amazing woman, thanks for such a timely post. I will keep your friend and her family in my prayers, I’m so sorry for such a senseless loss. Thanks for the great words to start the week.

    • Jen July 18, 2011, 11:55 am

      thank you so much sarah. happy to hear that the post resonated with you.

  • Laura July 18, 2011, 8:24 am

    I am so sorry to hear about this tragedy. Thank you for your strong life balance at the beginning of this week. I hope you are able to find comfort through your family and friends as you are going through this difficult time. It is true that we are in control of our own lives, but times of loss can cause us all to question that. I hope you are able to find comfort through your family and friends as you are going through this difficult time.

    • Laura July 18, 2011, 8:29 am

      Sorry about the repeat line. Clearly, I’m not quite awake on this Monday morning!

      • Jen July 18, 2011, 11:55 am

        laura – i totally understand! i have those mondays too.

        thank you for your comment.

  • Jen July 18, 2011, 9:05 am

    Jen, I am so sorry to hear about your friend. That is beyond awful. Bur thanks for sharing that inspiring quote. It’s so true!

    And Nati is the same way. He loves swimming more than anything but he’s a huge baby when it comes to baths and the rain.

    • Jen July 18, 2011, 11:54 am

      thanks jen.

      what do you think it is about the bath that is so different!? seriously, she acts like i’m completely torturing her. it’s ridiculous!

  • Jessica July 18, 2011, 9:07 am

    What an inspiring post. I work in Midtown, not far from where the shooting happened. So very sad. It makes you realize how precious your life really is. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family, and to you!

    • Jen July 18, 2011, 11:53 am

      thank you jessica, i’m sorry that this terrible thing happened in your area.

  • Emily@RunningPerspective July 18, 2011, 9:12 am

    wow so inspiring! that you so so much!

  • Jessica July 18, 2011, 9:15 am

    Jen, I’m so sorry about your friend. I used to live on West Peachtree St. In Atlanta, right around the corner from where the shooting happened. What a horrible tragedy.

    On a lighter note, thank you for the uplifting quote!

    • Jen July 18, 2011, 11:52 am

      thanks, jessica. have a great week!

  • kat July 18, 2011, 9:16 am

    Such a tragic and senseless act. It makes me angry. I am so sorry for your loss and I will be thinking of you and Brittany’s family. And the inspirational message is right on – I have adopted that in my own life and try my best to help my youth-at-risk understand it…tough with that age – or any age, really! Thanks for sharing. Sending healing thoughts your way.

    • Jen July 18, 2011, 11:51 am

      thank you, kat. i think this is a great message to share with at-risk youth although i can understand the challenges they might have with grasping it. have a good week.

  • Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) July 18, 2011, 9:22 am

    First, I have to say how sad the story about Brittney makes me. It’s senseless, and heartbreaking, and really words can never do stories like this justice. My heart goes out to her family and friends.

    Also, this might be one of my favorite posts you’ve written in terms of being exactly what I needed to read. I’ve heard so many stories lately about tragic circumstances, and I try to continue to use these stories to motivate me to be more grateful, more passionate and stop living with fear. Thanks so much for this post, especially the quote ‘you are either creating or allowing everything that is happening in your life.’ One of my strongest beliefs is that people need more personal responsibility in taking control of their lives. Very motivating!

    • Jen July 18, 2011, 11:50 am

      Brittany – I agree. It is sad, shocking and senseless. Really, just unbelievable that things like this happen.

      I appreciate the kind words about my post. Although I definitely don’t thrive on tragic stories or situations, they do provide reinforcement to live your life to the fullest, set goals and be the best you can be.

  • ashley July 18, 2011, 9:24 am

    I am SO sorry to hear about your friend and I’m praying for you and her family.

    This post was on spot! Thanks for another kick in the rear post! I have been dreading this busy week since last Monday! So this post is one that I definitely needed to get my Monday started out on a positive wave. Thanks again! I hope you have a fabulous week!

    • Jen July 18, 2011, 11:48 am

      Ashley – thanks for your comment. I’m glad that this post spoke to you a little on this Monday morning! Have a great week and good luck tacking all that it brings! You can do it!

  • Angie July 18, 2011, 9:45 am

    Sorry about your friend, so sad. I love what you wrote, that is so true! Kinda hard to face, too, when you really think about it!!

    • Jen July 18, 2011, 11:47 am

      Angie – it can definitely be hard to face…so often it’s much easier to just go with what you know, what’s safe and what’s easiest.

  • Stephanie @ Food and Fitness 4 Real July 18, 2011, 10:01 am

    Thank you for this post. One of the reasons I started my blog was because I wanted to feel like I was taking control of my life. It has also become a great way to share my beliefs on food and fitness with my friends and family. Especially my family who live 1,000 miles away and do not get to see me often. I hope to inspire and influence other women, mothers, sisters, friends to realize that the choices they make have a direct impact on their lives. Great way to start a Monday with your positive message.
    I am very sorry for the loss of your friend, this is a great way to remind others to celebrate life.

    • Jen July 18, 2011, 11:45 am

      stephanie – such a great point that blogging can provide a way to gain some control over your life. it definitely provides a great place for sharing goals, feelings and putting yourself out there.

      have a great week!

  • Savanna July 18, 2011, 10:42 am

    Thanks so much for this sweet message. I had the honor of working alongside Brittney, this is just another reminder that so many people can be touched by one another. I know she is looking down on us and proud of the footprint she left on earth.

    • Jen July 18, 2011, 11:43 am

      savanna – thank you so much for your comment. i can only imagine how the 22squared family must be feeling right now. thoughts with you guys.

  • Nicole July 18, 2011, 12:00 pm

    Oh, Jen! I read the news article—how tragic! Even though this story is very sad, I’m glad you shared. This is the type of post that makes a blog real. I think it is also a wonderful way to honor your friend.

    • Jen July 18, 2011, 12:06 pm

      nicole – thank you. i really struggle with these types of posts. there is so much sad in the world that i hate to feel like i am burdening any of my readers but when i do post them it always ends up feeling like the right thing. so lucky to have my readers and an incredible network of blog friends.

  • Drea July 18, 2011, 12:25 pm

    Hate to hear of your senseless loss. Definitely sending out positive thoughts and prayers for everyone.

    I shared you message with all of my friends this morning. Since your post last week, I make sure each morning to mentally prepare myself with positivity and take that with me into work! It truly does make a difference! Thank you!

    • Jen July 20, 2011, 10:44 am

      drea – thank you so much for your comment and for sharing this message with your friends. i love that you’ve been focusing on positivity and that it’s working for you. it makes me so happy when you guys share these things with me!

  • Laura July 18, 2011, 1:35 pm

    Thank you for this post. It is easy to let tragic events take complete control of every moment. It is important and reassuring to remember that we have control over our quality of life.
    I am thinking of you and your soroity sisters.

    • Jen July 20, 2011, 10:45 am

      thank you laura. i hope you are doing well. you have been in my thoughts a lot recently. we would love to get to asheville soon and it would be great to see you.

      • Laura July 21, 2011, 9:53 am

        Someone sent this quotation to me today that me think of this post. So, I thought I would share:

        ”As long as anyone believes that their ideal and purpose
        is outside them, that it is above the clouds, in the past
        or in the future, they will go outside themselves and
        seek fulfillment where it cannot be found. They will
        look for solutions and answers at every point except
        where they can be found–in themselves. ” Erich Fromm

        Would love to see y’all in Asheville. Please let me know if you are heading this way.

  • Morgan July 18, 2011, 1:46 pm

    My good friend, Lucy works at 22squared with Britteny. I was on Facebook Friday when she updated her status about the shooting. Lucy then had to find out just who the victims were. I am so sorry. It is funny how small the world can be. Praying for her family and the entire 22squared community as well.

    It is certainly a harsh reminder that everyday is a blessing.

    • Jen July 20, 2011, 10:46 am

      morgan – it’s crazy because i saw things on facebook friday too when it happened…and then found out later that day that it was brittney. i am definitely thinking of all of her co-workers as well. so terrible.

  • Erin Y July 18, 2011, 1:51 pm

    wow. Tragic, senseless and heartbreaking. So sorry for your loss.

    A sad reminder to live in the moment and never take anything for granted. You really never know when your last day will be so why make excuses for not living your life to the fullest. Thank you for the reminder.

  • Danielle July 18, 2011, 2:01 pm

    This post really spoke to me. Thank you for the reminder. I am so sorry for your loss <3

  • Becca B July 18, 2011, 2:05 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about your friend. that is absolutley horrible. I think that taking control of your life is key, never be a bystander in determining your future! Sometimes though, when things seem out of control, I recite the first few lines of “The Serenity Prayer” and it helps me gain perspective on the situation. Maybe it can help someone else too!

    “God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.”

    • Jen July 20, 2011, 10:48 am

      becca – i also love the serenity prayer. so powerful and grounding!

  • Meghan @ StruggleMuffins July 18, 2011, 6:20 pm

    So sorry about your friend, what a terrible tragedy – sending positive vibes your way. Your post was a wonderful reminder to live in the moment and be in control. I actually kinda needed that, so…thank you.

  • Caroline July 18, 2011, 8:07 pm

    I needed this post so much today. On the way home from work I was rear ended, and then the take out order I delivered for dinner was wrong, and I cut my finger chopping a salad (the replacement dinner). Needless to say I have been mad at the world all day, feeling sorry and pitiful for myself. I read your post and broke down in tears. I am hear, now. I am blessed. I can change my attitude and turn these annoying events into a realization that a.) I wasnt hurt in the accident b.) I can afford to eat dinner (and order out) c.) I didn’t completely chop my finger off! I should be celebrating!!!

    Anywho, I am terribly sorry for your loss and thankful you have turned that situation into inspiration for all of us to be positive and grateful.

    • Jen July 20, 2011, 10:52 am

      caroline – we all have those days where everything adds up and it feels like we are moving in opposition from the universe. it is so easy to get wrapped up in it and feel frustrated, sad and at wit’s end. i think it’s important to have the moments like you had where you experience a breakthrough. so much personal growth to be had by recognizing that you’re in a funk/bad situation, assessing what’s going on and how you can move past it.

      thank you so much for sharing!

  • Alex July 18, 2011, 8:27 pm

    Dear Jen,

    Thank you thank you thank you for the motivational post today. I saw your feed when I got home and knew I needed something to push to me off to yoga this evening. I was himming and hawwing about going or not. Additionally, the “you are 100% responsible for your life” really spoke to me and I am looking forward to reading the book Lexi recommended. Her video post was very inspirational and I cannot wait to share it with my mom.

    FYI: my stress fracture is improving tremendously thanks to all the yoga and swimming I have stuck to. Hopefully I’ll be up for running in a couple of months!



    • Alice July 19, 2011, 12:20 pm

      This is random, but have you ever tried an ultrasound bone stimulator? I am a rep for one, and Docs sometimes prescribe them for nagging stress fxs for athletes and they typically get the fx healed up for good! Just a suggestion. I run, too, and have had injuries and know how frustrating it can be to have to take an extended break. If you have any questions, you can email me- waalice@gmail.com.
      Have a great day!

      • Jen July 20, 2011, 11:03 am

        alice – i did ultrasound when i had achilles tendonitis so i am familiar with it. have not done that as treatment for my hamstring although i am doing therastim (neuromuscular stimulation through electric pads).

    • Jen July 20, 2011, 10:56 am

      alex – thanks so much for your comment. i am so glad that the post resonated with you and gave you the push you needed to get out of the door.

      yay that your stress fracture is healing. i have to remind myself that it’s not the end of the world that i can’t run. swimming and yoga are so therapeutic.

  • Josie July 18, 2011, 11:40 pm

    Oh my gosh, I heard about that shooting – it was so scary and senseless. I’m so sorry that it was your friend.
    I love the message of this post though – it brought tears to my eyes and goosebumps to my skin!

  • Marian July 19, 2011, 1:09 pm


    I am so sorry to hear about your friend. Such a senseless crime. But thank you for maintaining such a positive attitude and inspiring so many people with this post! I LOVE the quote – I should probably read it to myself every day πŸ™‚

    • Jen July 20, 2011, 11:01 am

      Thank you Marian. I also need to read this post every.single.day. At least for the next few months!

  • Christina July 19, 2011, 9:00 pm

    Hey Jen! What a crazy week. I did not even know her….met her once when she had just pledged at an alumni brunch. Just could not stop thinking about it though. Just heartbreaking to think about the husband she left behind. I was praying for his strength all weekend!
    Great inspiration. I often have to remind myself to stay positive with all the craziness I find around me at times, especially with my mother’s poor health. So many small but wonderful things to be happy for and keep you motivated to move on!
    p.s- I love Naan!….one of the small things to keep you smiling (;

    • Jen July 20, 2011, 11:02 am

      christina – it was a crazy week for all of our atlanta friends and fellow AXOs. i was not super-close with her either but it’s just been weighing so heavy on my mind.

      i’m happy that you enjoyed the message in the post. it’s always good to get reminders that we are in control of our lives and to be thankful for all that we have.

      so good to hear from you!!!!!

  • Chandler July 20, 2011, 2:47 pm

    I am a little late in reading this but I’m glad I did. Your sorority sister that was murdered is a friend of my roommates (their mothers are best friends). This has been a very tough week for her and I know she will appreciate your post. Thank you for sharing!

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