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A Child of the Sacred Heart

I often joke that I was born and raised in the Sacred Heart Tradition.  My mother and her two sisters went to a Sacred Heart school in Louisiana, and I went to the Sacred Heart school here in Houston from K-12.  So what is Sacred Heart you ask??

Where do I begin? I guess the best place to start is the beginning.  I’ll try to keep this short.  There is an amazing group of women that I affectionately refer to as the RSCJ.  The Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus began in 1800, when Madeleine Sophie Barat took her vows with a group of other religious women.  St. Madeleine Sophie believed that girls should be educated in a manner that equips them with tools to be leaders in our ever changing world.  The tools that were used then, are still used today are: faith in God, respect for intellect, social awareness, building community, and using personal growth to make wise choices.  I am sure there might be a few people who read this who might cringe at my brevity and loose interpretation of the tools, which are known as the Goals of the Sacred Heart.

This idea of educating girls in such a manner was a very radical idea in St. Madeline Sophie’s time.  The idea of educating women period was a radical idea.  There are currently 22 Sacred Heart schools in the US and over 100 additional schools around the globe. So I’d say it safe to say that Madeleine Sophie and the many women who helped her in her mission, were way ahead of their time.  Their faith in God and their faith in the importance of their mission carried them through many challenges.

You may be wondering why I have chosen to write a blog post about this.  I just finished a project to help raise money for my children’s school.  I took individual portraits of each student at their school to be sold at the school’s annual auction.  It was a huge undertaking, and there were times when I wondered why I had even taken on the job.  No one asked me to do it.

There were times, especially this past week, when I was doubting if I’d ever finish.  But I did, I finished, and I did not do it alone.  You see, my children go to a Sacred Heart school and I relied on this amazing community to help me get to the finish line.  Many times throughout the journey I remembered sitting in a student council meeting as a high school student.  Sr. Martha Rowan, RSCJ was our moderator and she would not let us take the easy road when it came to fundraising.  We absolutely could not raise money using a method that did not involve our own creativity and hard work.  For instance, we were not allowed to sell a product from a sponsoring company.  We had to be part of the process from start to finish.  She challenged us to use the gifts that God gave us to come up with new and unique ways to raise money.

So when the question would creep up in my mind, “Why are you doing this?”, I would remember Sr. Rowan.  I used my gift, my passion, my art to help an institution that has had a special place in my heart for as long as I can remember.

Thank you to all of the amazing people in my Sacred Heart community, who have guided me through multiple journeys thus far.  My grandmother, my mom, my aunts, my teachers, fellow classmates, former co-workers, the former and current faculty and staff at my alma mater, and all the faculty and staff at my children’s school . . .Thank you!!

Jenn

PS Do not judge the grammatical errors in my post as an evaluation of my education.  Grammar and writing have never been strong subjects for me, and I am working on very little sleep . . .LOL!!

Brady - Jenn, you are an inspiration! Congrats on your project – I bet it makes a million!

Dru - You hit everything right on the head. Sacred Heart is an amazing place, and know what it is also like growing up in Sacred Heart as 4 generations ahead of me attended Sacred a heart. We are all blessed, and way to keep pushing forward. You are talented, and gifted being yourself and a photographer.

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My Word

For the last couple of years I have been picking “one word” to be my gentle reminder for the year.  I learned about “One Little Word” in 2010 while taking an on-line course.  Ali Edwards is the creative mind behind the concept.  I soon began to hear about women picking words as their mantra/theme for the year.  I continued to see photographs,blog posts, and even jewelry all dedicated to their “one word”.  So I decided to pick one.

In 2011, my word was believe.  I didn’t give it much thought or time, but I did keep it in the corner of my mind.  I was in the middle of a divorce, adjusting to being a single mother, and frankly just trying to keep my head above water.  Even thought I wan’t sure that I was doing it right, I plugged away.  I signed up for Ali’s class, bought a few supplies to scrapbook my word . . .ready, set, go!!!

True to my typical behavior, I did not scrap a single thing.  I did, however, have a necklace made with my word on it.  Just a simple reminder.  I needed to believe that everything was going to work out.  I needed to believe that I was good enough.  I needed to believe that I would would make it through the murky waters of single parenting, and that somehow I would find myself during the process.  I did believe.  I had faith that God had a plan for me, and I would be open to whatever he put in front of me.  I believed in myself.

As 2011 came to a close, I was in such a healthy, happy place that I couldn’t believe it.  I had just begun a relationship, and I kept telling myself that this feeling was too good to be true.  Perfect timing for a new word.

My word for 2012 was trust.  I knew that I needed to begin to trust these new feelings.  It can be a bad habit for me to always be waiting for something bad to happen when something wonderful comes along.  I spend so much time waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop, that I am not able to savor the good happening in the present.  I learned to trust myself, my instinct, and my emotions.  It didn’t come all at once.  Sometimes one step forward, two steps back, but every experience a movement in a positive direction.

So I begin 2013 with big plans.  I am getting married in November.  I am head over heals in love with my fiancé and my 3 beautiful sons.  My photography business is growing faster than I ever expected.  My boys are growing way too quickly, and I don’t want to miss a thing.  So it’s time for a new word.

CONNECT

My word for 2013 is connect.  I want to nourish the connections that I have with the people I love, and to nurture new relationships.  With so many great things happening, I want to make sure that I am able to disconnect from the distractions and focus on the amazing people that I am blessed to have in my life.  I want to be mindful of the amount of time I spend glued to my iPhone or on my computer.  I want to savor every moment I can.

Do you have a word?  I’d love to hear how your word has made a change in your life.  I’ll let you know how mine is working out ;0)!

Cheers!
Jenn

Marilu - You inspire me….I think that my word will be courage…..something that I don’t think that I have ever had….I am amazed that so many of my friends struggle with the same fears regardless of our age….I am going to believe that so much is possible if I just have the courage….xoxo

Julia de la Torre - I love this idea and it’s one that helps make my goals for the year feel more tangible and part of a bigger mission. My word for the year will be “appreciate”. I want to appreciate more what I have–my health, my family, my abilities, my strengths. Not tear myself down when I feel insecure, but focus on those things that make me strong and who I am. I think it will set the right tone for the year. Thanks for helping me crystalize this. And good luck with the business! Very exciting, and a wedding to boot. Couldn’t be happier for you.

Jennifer - Marliu,
I love your word! Thank you for sharing, and I cannot thank you enough for all of your support! You have already shown great courage, and I cannot wait to hear how choosing your word influences your 2013.
Jenn

Jennifer - Thank you, Julia! I truly think that being mindful of your word will help you to appreciate so many things. Thank you so much for sharing, and good luck with all of your awesome efforts to raise money for cancer research. You are a ROCK STAR!!
Jenn

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Pardon the Mess

Thank you for visiting my website.  As you can see, lots of changes are happening.  Rather than taking the site completely down, I thought I’d leave it up for feedback.  I haven’t gotten anywhere in life without the help and support of the village around me.

Some of the buttons, menus, and graphics are not fully functional yet.  Please be patient as I transfer all of my content to my new design.  This has been a labour of love and I don’t want to rush it.  I am trying to learn as much as I can through this process, so that I may be able to help others do the same.

If you have any feedback . . ANYTHING . . please shoot me an email or leave a comment on this post.  Any feedback is truly appreciated, as it helps me to get the bugs out.

If you are a current client, you can access your galleries by clicking on the “Client Proof” button, in the right sidebar.  It will take you to the client login page where you will simply type in your gallery name.  If you need help remembering your login, or if you have lost your own direct link, please just shoot me an email.

Cheers!!

Jenn

Sandy - Keep up the good work!

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